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The Wall: Reconciliation, Doctrine of Position in Christ (Part 8 of 8)

DOCTRINE OF POSITION IN CHRIST

To illustrate the doctrine of reconciliation, we see man and God hopelessly separated by an impassable barrier. This barrier, which we have termed “The Wall” constitutes MAN’S PROBLEM. In this section of our study we will examine the sixth brick of the “The Wall” and learn how GOD’S SOLUTION removed it at the cross. As I said before, the first three bricks were removed, on the cross by Jesus Christ. The final three can only be removed by you. It is your choice and yours alone.

 

THE BARRIER, MAN’S PROBLEM

The first man, Adam, was the representative head of the human race. If you have been following this series, you have heard the story of Adam’s willful disobedience, sin, and resultant spiritual death. Since all of mankind are Adam’s offspring, his spiritual death was passed on to the entire human race (Romans 5:12). It is for this reason that “in Adam all die” (1 Corinthians 15:21). As a result, all of us came into this life “alienated from the life of God” (Ephesians 4:18). In order to enter into fellowship with God and live with Him forever, every member of the human race must possess His perfect righteousness and His eternal life. We, as the progeny of Adam, possess neither. Because we are born “in Adam,” we are incapable of entering into fellowship with God. The limitations we possess in our brief lives present a barrier to fellowship with eternal God. As a result, we have a problem.

POSITION IN CHRIST, GOD’S SOLUTION

Even though in “Adam all die,” God has promised us that, “in Christ, all shall be made alive.” Our old position in Adam necessitated condemnation and death, but our new position in Christ guarantees justification and eternal life. We were born, physically, into Adam’s world and limited to a meaningless life of vanity. Through faith in Christ, we were born again, spiritually, into a personal relationship with God the Father. As His child, we have been given eternal life and unlimited potential to fulfil an eternal destiny with blessings beyond our wildest imaginations. But wait, it gets better. In addition, we, the Church, are the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelation 19:6-8). How can this be? Because my friend, as Bob Dylan once said, “The times, they are a changin.”

 Welcome home!

Jesus Christ is called the” Last Adam” in 1 Corinthians 15:45, the head of a new spiritual species. This process is explained in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Old things do not simply refer to bad habits. A new believer retains all the bad habits he acquired before he was born again. What is more, he also keeps his old sin nature with all its trends and lusts. Bad habits may be overcome as the believer matures and chooses to leave them behind, but the old things, which have passed away, are all the liabilities that put us behind the barrier. You know them now. We have talked about this. They are sin, the penalty for sin, character of God, relative righteousness, spiritual death, and now, our current discussion, position in Adam.

 

A new dawn is the door to a world of new things, and we all love new things.

The new things to which Paul was referring are all the marvelous assets we have by virtue of our position in Christ. The instant we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit placed us in union with Him through the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13). From that moment on we were one with Him. Our physical birth, our position in Adam, ceased to be a problem. Through regeneration, the life of Christ became our life. Position in Christ means that, through regeneration and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we have the same spiritual assets that Jesus possessed during his earthly ministry. At this point, it is essential to understand that Christianity is not a religion. Anyone can be religious, but it takes a miracle to place a person in position with Christ. What I mean is, one cannot grow closer to God through a system of rituals, good deeds, or a specialized priesthood. Rather, Christianity is a personal relationship with God the Father. Through spiritual birth, each of us are members of His family, “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, literally, Daddy! Father!” (Galatians 4:6).

 

Position in Christ guarantees us an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ that sets us apart from believers of any other dispensation. Not only does every believer of the Church Age share His eternal life (1 John 5:11-12), His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21), His election (Ephesians 1:3-4), we also share His Son-ship (Galatians 3:26), His priesthood (Hebrews 10:10; cf. 1 Peter 2:9), His royalty (2 Timothy 2:11-12) and therefore, His kingdom (2 Peter 1:11) and His destiny (Ephesians 1:5). That’s a lot of stuff! You might want to go back and read that again and look up the passages. It will make you head spin. I guarantee it.

 

Since the beginning, that day in the Garden of Eden, every believer in Christ has been born again into the family of God: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children, τέκνα, of God.” The Greek word, τέκνα, plural for teknon, means a child who is a member of the family by virtue of his birth. ”And if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16-17). If we are children of the same Father, then it follows that we share in the same inheritance. However, this epistle was written to the Romans, and according to Roman law, this was not necessarily the case. A Roman was not a legal heir until he was declared worthy by his father and awarded the privilege of adoption.

 

In our culture, adoption means taking a child, who was not born into the family and making him a legal member of the family. Adoption in ancient Rome, however, had to do with making someone who was born into the family a league heir. In Rome adoption did not take place until the son in question reached the age of 14 years. For the first 14 years of his life, a Roman son was placed under the authority of a household slave. This slave was often his teacher. It was this custom that Paul referred to in Galatians 4:1-2: “Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time (of his adoption) appointed by the father” (Galatians 4:1-2).

 

On his 14th birthday the whole family would gather together for the all important ceremony of adoption. The boy was brought in wearing the toga of youth for the last time. Then his father stepped forward and took the toga of youth by the shoulders and lifting with his left hand, dropped it to the floor. A slave would then hand the father another toga called the toga virilis (robe of manhood). The father would then place it around his shoulders. He then kissed his son for the last time. Then he stepped back and said, “My son, you have now been adopted into the family.” At this point, the son was no longer called teknon, child, but υἱοs, huios, which is an adult son. As an adult member of the family, he became a legal heir to his father’s estate. He was no longer under the authority of a slave, but a ruler over them. Having been “born again” into the family as an adult member, he was given, not only the privileges of an adult, but also the responsibilities of one. Therefore, the Christian, by virtue of his position in Christ, is called huios, an adult son, and a fellow heir of Christ.

Position in Christ places every Church Age believer into the royal family of Christ as an adult son. During the Church Age, Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. Seated as glorified royalty in heaven, God the Father is currently forming a royal family for Jesus Christ on earth. That royal family is the Church of Christ.

Jesus Christ retains three titles of royalty, each with a royal family. As God, our Lord is divine royalty.

His divine royal family is God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. As man, Jesus is Jewish royalty. His Jewish title is the Son of David and His royal family is the line of King David. As the God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ won the strategic victory over Satan at the Cross and earned a third royal title, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Royal Titles

The Wall: Regeneration (Part 7 of 8)

FROM DEATH TO LIFE! REGENERATION

new life

To illustrate the doctrine of reconciliation, we see man and God hopelessly separated by an impassable barrier. This barrier, which we have termed “The Wall” constitutes MAN’S PROBLEM. In this section of our study we will examine the fifth brick of the “The Wall” and learn how GOD’S SOLUTION removed it at the cross. As I said before, the first three bricks were removed by Jesus Christ. The final three can only be removed by you. It is your choice and yours alone.

 

THE BARRIER, MAN’S PROBLEM:

The fifth brick of the barrier is spiritual death. The birth of a child is certainly one of God’s most precious gifts. But because of sin, there is a tragic injustice that occurs with the creation of human life. Through no fault of our own, we come into this life spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-5; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Colossians 2:13), alienated from the life of God (Ephesians 4:18-19), destitute of God the Holy Spirit and therefore, separated from God the Father (Romans 8:9). And it only gets worse. In addition, we are condemned to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:10-15).

Who’s to blame? The fact that we were all born spiritually dead is not our fault. It’s Adam’s. When Adam ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he wilfully disobeyed God. As a result, he suffered the penalty of spiritual death (Genesis 2:17). Now, because we are all his descendants, we are all under the same curse of spiritual death, “In Adam all die” (1Corinthians 15:22).

It’s not fair! That’s right; it’s not fair, but only from a human viewpoint perspective. However, if we look prayerfully at the situation from the divine viewpoint of God’s Word, the grace perspective comes into view, and the mystery of God’s wonderful plan unravels.

When a baby comes into this life, through no fault of his own, he is spiritually dead, “By one man’s disobedience many, literally translated, the many, a reference to all to of humanity, were made, sinners” (Romans 5:19). The Greek text says that we were appointed or caused to be sinners.

Do all children who die before the age of accountability go to heaven? 

Yes, because babies are spiritually dead from the womb (Psalms 51:5; 58:3; Job 14:4), we have the assurance that all children who die before the age of accountability go to heaven (2 Samuel 12:23). Why? Because our sins have been paid for by Jesus Christ on the cross, they will not form the final basis for condemnation at the great white throne judgment (Revelation 20:12). The final basis by which man will be judged will not be his personal sins. The final basis for judgment will be his rejection of Jesus Christ as his personal Savior (John 3:18, 36). Because the unbeliever rejects the solution to his sin problem, he is condemned to die in his sins (John 8:21, 24). Until a person reaches God consciousness, he cannot reject God. Since one can’t reject something he’s never seen, all persons who die before they reach the age of accountability, or the point of God consciousness, go to heaven (2 Samuel 12:22-23 cf. Psalm 23:6).

We are not sinners because we sin. Rather, we sin because we are sinners. We come into this life sinners because we were “caused to be sinners” (Romans 5:19). We don’t choose to be sinners any more than we can choose the color of our eyes. When Adam made the decision to disobey God, his nature was changed. By an act of personal volition his nature was changed from God-centered to self-centered. He exchanged his sinless nature for a sinful nature. But what is worse, he passed that sinful nature on to us.

In Romans 5:12, God explains the process by which all men were made sinful and, as a result, commit personal sins:

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).

A more literal translation would be: Through one man (Adam) sin, ἡ ἁμαρτία (the *Old Sin Nature cf. Romans 6:6-7, 12), entered the world, and (spiritual) death, through sin, and thus, οὕτως,literally, in this manner, death, spread, to all men, because, ἐφ’ ᾧ, literally, on the basis of which (spiritual) death, all sinned.

*The first human sin was committed by Eve, but their eyes were not opened and the fall of humanity did not occur until Adam sinned. *At that point, the Old Sin Nature became part of human nature. From that point on, the sin nature has been passed down through the man exclusively because the man was responsible for the fall, not the woman. This explains why Jesus Christ was born without an old sin nature. Mary was fully human, but Jesus’ father was God the Holy Spirit. No human father; no Adamic sin nature.

A literal paraphrase of the Greek text would be as follows: “Through one man, Adam, the sin nature entered the world, and through that sin nature, spiritual death came into the world. So through the passing on of the sin nature spiritual death spread throughout all mankind. Therefore, because of spiritual death and the imputation of the sin nature, we all come into this world a sinful creature.” In other words, we were born sinners, because we were born with a sinful nature. As a result, we all will eventually commit personal sins” (Romans 5:12).

This is why I said earlier, we are not sinners because we commit person sins. To the contrary, we commit personal sins because we were born sinners. i. e. we were born with a sinful nature which we inherited through no fault of our own.

In summary, when Adam sinned, he died spiritually (Genesis 2:7). As his offspring, we are born with his sinful nature (Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9). As a result of our sin nature, we commit personal sins.

Because we possess a sinful nature, we come into this life separated from God, which is to say, spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-5, 2 Corinthians 5:14; Colossians 2:13). As a result, man has a problem.

REGENERATION, GOD’S SOLUTION:

The solution to the problem of spiritual death is regeneration. In order for man to regain his spiritual relationship with God, he needs a new nature. God is spirit “and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). Therefore, “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). At the point of faith in Christ, a miracle occurs that Jesus called “being born again” (John 3:3, 7).

 

Nic at Night John 3:1-21

 

Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a leader of the Jewish people. He was also a member of the Sanhedrin the high court in Israel. One night he came to Jesus and they had an interesting conversation.

Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit (the gospel through God’s Word and the baptism of the Holy Spirit; see Acts 11:15-17) , he cannot enter the kingdom of GodI8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”

10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?

Nicodemus was an acclaimed Bible teacher, yet he was completely baffled by Jesus’ words. Why? Because he had not yet been born again. Paul explains this mystery in 1 Corinthians 2:13-14: “ These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Nicodemus had no capacity to understand Jesus teaching because he had not yet been born again. He had not yet experienced the miracle of regeneration. However, he did not remain in that condition for long after this conversation. At some point before Jesus’ crucifixion, he accepted Christ as his personal Savior.

We know this because he stood up for Jesus when the Pharisees were conspiring against him(John 7:50-51).

After the crucifixion, he helped Joseph of Arimathea take Jesus’ body down from the cross and lay it in a tomb, at great risk to his safety and reputation.

Regeneration is the process of being born again. Through regeneration, the believer receives a new nature.

Something old and something new:

When we believed in Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, His righteousness was imputed to us (Romans 4:3). As a result, God the Holy Spirit was justified (on the basis of imputed righteousness) to enter into each of our bodies (1 Corinthians 3:16) and give us spiritual life, “Even when we were dead in our sins, (God the Holy Spirit) hath made us alive, συνεζωοποίησεν, literally, to bring to life or cause to come to life, together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:5; see also: Colossians 2:13; 1 Peter 3:18). This is a new birth. God the Holy Spirit gives birth to our formerly dead human spirit. This new birth is called being born again or regeneration. At this point, our true nature is changed from sinful to sinless, fleshly to spiritual, and self-centered to God-centered.

Through regeneration we become the children of The Living God “The (Holy) Spirit Himself bears witness with our (regenerated human) spirit that we are the children, τέκνα lit. children by birth, of God” (Romans 8:16-17, 21).

After Adam had fallen, he hid from God out of fear (Genesis 3:10). Were they naked? No! They had sewn garments out of fig leaves (3:7). They were not ashamed because their bodies were exposed, but because their deeds were exposed, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:19-20).

Not so for His children, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” (Romans 8:14-15).

Conclusion: This world is under divine judgment and will receive its just rewards. As God’s children, we can rest assured that the one thing we do deserve, the lake of fire, we will never experience. Why? Because Jesus Christ died a substitutionary death on our behalf. For this reason, we are delivered from the just consequence of sin. The issue for the unbeliever is not personal sin, but rather, Jesus Christ. My prayer is that this study has helped the readers to focus on the real issue, Jesus Christ.

The Wall: Imputation (Part 6 of 8)

IMPUTATION & JUSTIFICATION

To illustrate the doctrine of reconciliation, we see man and God hopelessly separated by an impassable barrier. This barrier, which we have termed “The Wall” constitutes MAN’S PROBLEM. In this section of our study we will examine the fourth brick in the “The Wall” and learn how GOD’S SOLUTION removed it at the cross. But there is a turn in the road here. As I said before, the first three bricks were removed by Jesus Christ. You weren’t there. No one that is hearing this was there. He was alone, hanging on a cross, abandoned. God the Father wept as He watched what they did to Him. The holy angels screamed, “Please, Father, let us go down there and stop this! They are desecrating our Lord! Please, God, Father, give us permission to stop this!”

But He, God Almighty, our Father in heaven said, “No! It is written. It is necessary. He is my legacy, and through him I will have a family; I will have children.”

Children; have you ever thought about how they come to us? They come through extreme pain. Guys, we all know that making babies is fun. But for women, it’s a different story. Any guy who has been there, in the delivery room knows this; having babies hurts, a lot!

But as any mother will tell you, “It was worth it!”

I know that this may seem like bunny trail, but, as long as I am on the subject of babies, please let me give you some assurance of something I know to be true.

Babies who die before the age of accountability go to heaven; period; no discussion! That’s what the Bible says, “He (David) answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ 23 But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:22). David, he was a pretty complicated guy, but after all that, he was inspired by God the Holy Spirit to tell the world something in the twenty-third Psalm. This is what he wrote: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LordForever.” So, where is David today? And where is his illegitimate son? This ain’t rocket science here folks. If you don’t get it, then you are on the wrong site. See ya! But if you do, then hang in there, because we are moving to higher ground.

 

THE BARRIER, MAN’S PROBLEM:

The fourth brick of the barrier is man’s relative righteousness. This brick is, to some, the most confusing aspect of the barrier. Why? Because in this lesson we are not going to focus on man’s sin. No, we are going to focus on his goodness. Many people are very good. They live a righteous lifestyle. They are honest, polite, responsible, relaxed, individuals who are delightful to be around.

On the other hand, some people are scheming, slandering, lying, irresponsible, uptight, and in general, people we tend to avoid. From this perspective, many unbelievers are good people. All of us can testify to that fact. To complicate the issue, many of these “good people” may even live a more upright lifestyle than some Christians.

Here, then, is the issue of relative righteousness. Obviously, some people are very good. They are respectable, honorable and above reproach. Let’s face it, many of those with whom we associate are just better than others, and that is the real problem. We often establish the fact that a person is good or righteous because he or she appears, on the outside, to be better than other people. This is what we mean by relative righteousness.

Now let’s compare these systems of morality with God’s standards. A person may have honorable characteristics and we enjoy his or her company; but with all their noble qualities, they are still only relatively righteous. What I’m saying is that they do not even come close to the righteousness of God, “There is no one holy like the LORD” (1 Samuel 2:2; Psalms 22:3, 47:8, 111:9). In addition, God is immutable, “I am the LORD, I change not” (Malachi 3:6). If He, God, were to enter into fellowship with relative righteousness, He would have to compromise His holiness (Romans 8:8; cf. 1 John 1:5-6). It is impossible for God to lower His standards (Hebrews 1:12).

In light of what God says about His own righteousness, let’s see how man measures up: “For all have sinned and, come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “For there is not a just man upon the earth, that does good, and sins not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10 cf. Psalms 14:1-3). Isaiah was inspired, by God the Holy Spirit, to describe human good in this way: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness’s are as filthy rags. Literally translated, filthy rags, in the Hebrew means, “garments soiled by menstrual flow” (Isaiah 64:6).

Paul described human good like this: “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8). The Greek word for rubbish is skubala. The word means dung, feces or excrement. I know that these words are going to hurt some of your delicate little egos, but that is what the Bible says in the original language. Some fear to not translate the Bible it literally, so as not to offend people. I, on the other hand, fear to translate Scripture any other way, but literally, so as not to offend God.

Relative righteousness (human goodness), therefore, forms a tremendous barrier between man and God because it often leads to religious or sanctimonious illusions. Even though God is love, He will not compromise His divine integrity in order to enter into a personal relationship with anything that is less than holy, as He is holy. As a result, man has a problem.

 

GOD’S SOLUTION:

The solution to man’s problem of relative righteousness is imputation and justification. The word imputation comes from the Greek verb, logizomai. It means to take money from one account and place it into another. It only takes the click of a mouse to move money from one account into another, but it took infinitely more for God to transfer or impute His absolute righteousness to our bankrupt soul.

For He (God the Father) hath made Him (Jesus Christ), who knew no sin (literally: the one having never known sin), to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (Christ)” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

On the cross, our sins were charged to Christ. He paid our debt to God in full. Because of what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross, God the Father has a gift to give to each member of the human race. That gift is the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.

What makes a gift a gift? Before a gift can fulfill its purpose it must be received. This demands three things on the part of the receiver: faith, humility, and desire. What this means is that: First, the receiver must believe the gift is real. Second, he must accept it as something given and not earned. Third, he must desire to receive the thing being offered.

Salvation is a gift. It was bought and paid for with the blood of Christ and offered to man as a gift. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that, touto, (literally: this thing i.e. salvation) is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8) Note: touto, because of its neuter gender, can only refer to salvation. It cannot refer to either “grace” or “faith” because they are feminine nouns.

Because it is a gift, salvation must be:

1. accepted by faith.

First, we believed in the giver: “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to Him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3 cf. Genesis 15:1-6).

Second, we believed in the gift: “the gift of God is eternal life” (Romans 6:23). In order to received the gift of salvation it must be accepted by faith, “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

2. received in humility.

We cannot earn salvation since it is “not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:9) It was purchased by Jesus’ spiritual death on the cross, “you were not redeemed with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1: 18-19). The only way salvation can be attained is to humbly receive it as a gift that was purchased by someone else. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5).

3. as something to be desired.

At the point of God consciousness we begin to make a series of decisions. The decisions, in view here, center around the desire to know the God of Heaven and Earth that is revealed to all. “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has shown it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead (qeioths, literally: divine nature) so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20).

Those who desire to know Him, He will draw to Himself (John 6:44; James 4:8). Those who do not, are blinded to the truth by Satan (Romans 1:21 cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4). In his blindness man tries to earn salvation by works, “But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? (Literally: Why not?) Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law” (Romans 9:31-32). It is man’s responsibility to respond to God’s offer of salvation as a gift to be desired and received by faith.

When the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Their response was simple. They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-31).

Why faith? Faith is an expression of the will that gives all honor and merit to the object rather than the subject. As a result, an expression of faith gives glory to the object (God) rather than the believer (man). Therefore, in God’s plan of salvation faith is not considered works, but obedience to His declared will, “Therefore, we conclude that man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:28; also: 4:5; Galatians 2:16; Titus 3:5).

Conclusion: Whenever a person chooses to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation, God is free to impute the righteousness of Christ to that believer (Romans 3:22; 4:3; 5:17; 9:30). On the basis of imputed righteousness, God declares this new believer to be justified.

This part is always so fresh to me. Please be patient, but I feel a story coming. Yes, I’m going to tell you a story, but I promise, it will be short. You are standing, weary, at the end of a very long day. You are broken, staring at your feet. Then Someone speaks to you. It’s a man’s voice, so masculine, so engaging. You look up, but there is no one there. Just then a gentle breeze strokes you gently across your cheek and you look down. There on the dirty pavement is a soiled piece of paper. You don’t know why, but you bend down and pick it up. It’s a flier, and as you soon as you look at it, you grimace. This was was left here by some Jesus freak. But you have nothing else to do, so you read it, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16). You crush the paper in your hand, but your emotions deny your actions. A tear runs down your face. And you, know, nothing will ever be the same.

And then God steps forward to embrace you, as family. By one simple act of faith, you have been born again, and now possesses the righteousness of God.

What is the significance of justification? Until man receives the imputed rightness of Jesus Christ by faith, God is not even justified to have fellowship with him, let alone to enter into him (indwell him) and call him family. But once the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the new believer on the basis of his faith, God is, as a result of this imputation, is justified, not only to enter into a holy bond with this person, but, through regeneration , make him his child for eternity.

 

Simply put, it is the through the imputation of God’s righteousness, received by faith in Christ, apart from works, that God is justified to indwell the believer and bring him into the Royal family of God forever. Therefore, only through the imputation of Christ’s righteousness is God justified to enter into a personal relationship with a person without compromising His holiness which is an intrigal part of His divine essence or integrity (see Doctrine of Divine Essence).

Reconciliation: A Transition (Part 5 of 8)

RECONCILIATION means to restore to favor or fellowship. Biblically, reconciliation is all that God has done to remove the Barrier between God and man (Eph. 2:13-18).

The entire process of reconciliation occurs the instant a person believes in the person and work Jesus Christ. The process involves six acts of grace on God’s part and one act of volition on your part.

So far we have disused three of the six bricks that make up the wall that separates us from God.

There is, however, a distinction between the first three bricks and the second three that we need to discuss. You see, the first three bricks were obliterated at the cross. You had nothing to do with the process. Jesus did it all that day, that horrible, infamous, iniquitous day. That day our Lord, Jesus, hung on that ugly, disgusting, dirty cross condemned to pass into eternity with common criminals. One of whom He graciously took home with Him. It doesn’t matter what you do or think, the first three bricks are no longer an issue. That day, Jesus took care of business for the entire human race.

Let’s take moment to see where we have been.

First, remember, you were a slave. Jesus saw you there, in the slave market of sin. You were naked and in chains, in bondage to sin. And through His tears, He took pity on you and bought your freedom. But it cost Him His life. He laid it down for you. Do you know what value that act imputed to your soul? Christian, never take yourself lightly. You were bought with a price. In order to redeem you, God the Father did the unthinkable. He sacrificed His only Son. I’m sorry, but if it were my decision to choose between you and my son, Michael, I would let your hand slip from mine and say, “Goodbye.” I just don’t love you that much. Get it?

Second, you were dead, condemned, sitting on death row, awaiting execution. And then someone came to see you. The jailer announced Him, “Sir, you have visitor. His name is Jesus. He wants to talk with you.” He entered your cell and sat down next to you on your soiled cot. Then He said, “The cell door is open. You should go now.” Without even a “thank you” you bolt. But the next day you can’t stay away, so you go back to that dingy, filthy, awful place that held you captive for so many years. There was something going on there. They were going to pull the plug on someone today. Who? As you stood there, you saw a familiar face. Jesus! You scream, “No! He’s innocent! You have the wrong guy! It was me; not Him. Please, don’t hurt Him; it was me!” But nobody heard, and all you could do was watch. And so, it ended there. There was nothing you could do. And you know what? There still isn’t.

Thirdly, and maybe this will be the most difficult concept to grasp, you are a thief, a miscreant, a felon. Before you get your panties in a knot and hang up, just listen. I’m going to tell you a story. There was once a man. He was a good and honest man, well respected and held in high esteem by his fellow citizens. One day he bought a lamb. He brought it home and it climbed into his lap. As she gazed into his eyes, he thought, “What a beautiful creature this is, so innocent, so childlike.” And so, he nurtured her and loved her. She ate from his plate and slept at the foot of his bed. And every morning she would greet him and nuzzle her face into the palm of his hand. One day a traveler came to town and needed a place to stay. He had money to pay for his berth, so the town’s people referred him to our friend. That night the visitor  slipped out and proceeded to rob our friend’s neighbors. The next day the thief was caught and convicted of his crimes. Our friend, not wanting his good name to be soiled, inquired, “What can I do to cleanse this man of his guilt and clear my good name?” Well, he only had one thing of value and that was his lamb. So he offered her in exchange for the thief’s freedom. She was eventually slain and the thief went on his way. She was beautiful and perfect, and he was ugly and flawed. But she was an acceptable offering who paid the ultimate price in order to free a man who didn’t even say, “thank you.”

Well, there it is. The first three bricks have been removed by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The next three are a different story. These will require personal responsibility on your part.

Responsibility, hmmm … not a popular word today.

It’s OK. I’m a retired Marine Infantry Officer and a school teacher/administrator of thirty-one years. I’ve held a lot of little hands and said, “Follow me!” to a lot of men, and they did. Stay with me here. I have you, but you have to do the work. It’s just a choice, but it will mean the difference between life and death for so many if you choose to accept the responsibility of the Great Commission.

The next three bricks in the wall can only be removed by you.

If you are not a Christian, I pray that you will make the right choice concerning the information I have provided you. Christians! Pay attention. You need to understand your salvation. These doctrines are fundamental to your faith and essential for the accomplishment of your mission.

That is all,

D. E. Coulter

 

Angels

 

By Dennis Coulter

The other day a friend asked me if I believed in angels. The focus of the question was not so much on the angels of Biblical antiquity, but on the involvement of heavenly spirits in our everyday life. Here is a thumbnail sketch of what I have learned about this subject.

 

Angels are an essential part of our everyday life. Each of us has at least one guardian angel (Psalm 34:7 cf., Matthew 18:10; Hebrews 1:14).

 

Demons are fallen angels. They are not the chubby little creatures you saw in the movie Ghostbusters. They are warriors; armed and dangerous.  Satan was the first to fall (Isaiah 14:12; Ezekiel 28:13-15). One third of the angelic realm followed him into the rebellion that continues to this day (Revelation 12:4). Because of their actions, they are condemned with no hope of redemption, and so they constitute Satan’s army. As does any army, they have a mission. Their mission is twofold. First, they intend to take as many souls to hell with them as they possibly can. Second, they mean to neutralize their enemy, that would be us, by anesthetizing us to any source of information that would expose them for who they are and what they intend to do to the human race. So what is their strategy? It’s really quite simple. They merely use our own human arrogance to blind us and keep us from the truth (John 8:44).

Demons and the holy angels are locked in battle 24-7. They are all around you. You just can’t see them (Ephesians 6:12). Demons are assigned to individuals, cites, states and nations as are Holy angels. It is a highly organized political-military system. There is a demonic prince assigned to every section of society in the world and under him, thousands of emissaries (Daniel 10:13). I’m sure there is a demonic prince assigned to every church that is carrying out the great commission (preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ).  The good news is that the holy angels out number demons 2 to 1.

There is a little mess in the road that I would like to clean up right away. The sons of God in Geneses 6:1-4 cf. Jude 6-7 were not angels. That is a fairy tale designed to back up Greek mythology. Angels do not cohabit with each other nor have they ever done it with humans. I have done my homework on this (you can Google it: angels cohabiting with women).

Angels are the creation of God. They were created to worship Him and share eternal life in His glorious presence, as were we. After the fall of Satan, many of God’s holy angels were assigned to be our protectors. Why? Because, through Christ, mankind was given the mission to destroy Satan and his demons (Hebrews 2:5-18).

 What Satan fears most is God’s Word. If you can invasion this, I would like you to look into a Sunday school class, but instead of seeing a bunch of little kids running around, invasion a training ground in Sparta. Sparta, where boys and girls were bred and trained for one purpose. They were brought into this world to fight, against all odds, for Sparta. They were taught to fight and win! However, they were not without resources. Each had a helmet and armor, a sword, a spear and a shield. And when placed together with fellow Spartans, as a team, they were invincible. They were the most respected fighting machine that has ever been assembled on planet earth.

Christians, you are not unlike Spartans. You are first and foremost warriors! Satan fears your potential like he fears nothing else. Look! Gaze upon your assets. You have God the Holy Spirit indwelling you and “the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day,… and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:10-20).

And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Have you any idea what that passage means? It means, Christian, listen up! On the battlefield, throughout the angelic conflict, we, you and I, are the pointed end of the stick.  In other words, it’s up to us. Our job, in order to accomplish our mission, is to stay focused on the truth and thrust our spear into the devil’s heart. It’s not complicated, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17). There it is! Just say the words! Lay it down! Don’t embellish! Strike! And then, step back and watch God do His magic. How hard is that?

Every time a believer brings another lost soul into the Kingdom of God, Satan screams in agony. Why? Because everything he has thrown at you to keep you from your mission has failed. Simply stated, through you, God has won another battle, and Satan and his demon army have lost.

Now we are going to turn a corner, and I know I am going to lose a few of you in this alley (please, take my hand, I’ve been here before. I’m not afraid, I know the way and I promise, I won’t let go of you), but if you were here, standing in my office, I would stand, face you, and look you dead in the eye and say this, “Anyone who says they are worshiping God through any other means than Jesus Christ has been duped by the Prince of Darkness. He, Satan, also goes by the title, “Angel of Light” (2 Cor. 11:14) Let me be clear. If you call anyone, other than Jesus, “Lord,” then in reality, you are bowing down to Satan and worshiping the Lord of Darkness. His name is Lucifer, and he is the declared enemy of God. So, you’re into yoga. That’s fine. It’s purely physical, but on whom do you focus during your interludes into that realm of ecstasy? Is it Jesus? If it is, enjoy.

But, what if it’s not Jesus? Than with whom are you communing? Did you ever think about that?

Spiritualists and shamans! You know what? I’m just going to tell you straight up. I’ve been there; done that! Here it is: You get your power and light from demons, not God. Anyone who claims to be leading people toward the light apart from the Bible (the only authorized source of the Word of God) is as deluded and blind to reality as a mosquito heading for the zapper on a balmy spring evening.

Then I get asked this question, “But Dennis, what about E. T.? Might he have been an angel?” Angles are indeed creatures from outer space. That’s where they receive their orders, in the third heaven, the Holy of Holies, the throne room of God. Satan hangs out there too. But not to receive orders from God, but to accuse you and I of sin. However, we have an advocate up there in heaven.

Please allow me to once again paint you a picture. Here’s the scene: Satan is slandering you and I, and it’s all true. God the Father patiently hears Satan out. Then He turns to God the Son, His only begotten, and nods. Aware of His Father’s focus upon Him, Jesus stares down Satan. As Satan winces, He, God the Son, smiles; it’s almost winsome. He then turns a gentler eye to God the Father and calmly says, “I paid for that sin.” Just like that! And then, He casts a casual look across the room, as if to say, “Anyone else got anything to say?”  In response, God the Father turns back to Satan and says, “Case dismissed!” Satan has no recourse, but to storm out of the throne room of God. He is in a rage. And there is only one thought burning a hole through the pages of his diary. Listen, and listen to this carefully. Satan is angry most of the time, and his anger has a definite focus. His rage, his hatred toward the human race, his contempt (you have no idea how much he loathes you) continually inspires a solemn vow that evokes these words: “I swear that not one more of those pitiful creatures shall ever again steal another soul from my kingdom.” Did you get that? We are at war! So, get into the fight or get out of the way! Sorry, that’s just how I feel.

But here’s the cool part. I have already read the book. I know how it ends. We will continue, through the power of God, to kick Satan’s butt, and we will, ultimately, win. There will be many casualties however. I will never take the power and authority the Devil has over this perturbed planet lightly. I respect him as an intelligent and awesome warrior far beyond anyone I would have a prayer against. If it were not for my protective angles, under divine orders, I would have been terminated long ago. You may, at this point pose the question: “Am I fearful of the consequences I may incur by walking out into the battle fray?” If I were not, I would be either naive, ignorant or stupid. But as General Patton once told his son in a letter, “Fear is not a good enough reason to refrain from going into battle.”

There’s something else I want to talk to you about. I enjoy a good science fiction story or a fantasy as much as any other. Star Wars and The Lord Of The Rings are some of my favorite movies. But when I was in college, Chariots of the Gods was all the rage among the young intelligencia. But what was it, really? It was a smoke screen, that’s what, laid down by Satan to get our eyes off the real issue that was going on at that time. Did I fail to mention, the year was 1972, and the Jesus Freaks, ignited by the music emanating from Azusa Pacific University in conjunction with Chuck Smith’s teaching inspired a revival.  There was an evangelical movement happening in So. Cal. and it was at full tilt. And gee, guess what? Yours truly was one of those hippies, kissed sweetly on the face by the grace of God. And, as a result, I transformed from peace freak to a Christian warrior.

As things progressed, I began to witness to my friends about Jesus and then, this side issue came up. A book called Chariots of the Gods stimulated all kinds of thoughts about the heavenly realm, like, what about all the ancient wall drawings and signs in the wheat fields. It even infiltrated the Bible. People asked, “What about Ezekiel, chapter 1; that had to be a spaceship, right?”  And on and on it went!

These were just some of the many “but, what if’s” I got from people as I witnessed to my friends (most of whom I lost as I drifted from their world to His). But, please listen, all these were, and continue to be, simply different forms of distractions to get your eyes off the real issue. Satan is the master of deception. He creates smokescreens and illusions to keep people from focusing on the truth, to neutralize them from ever becoming a threat. There is something you need to understand.

The Dark Prince of the High Desert knows my name. My job is, as it has always been, is to equip and train men and women for spiritual battle. And he knows that I am writing this letter and by whom it is being embraced. He knows all about the Bible doctrine I am writing down for you. These pearls are, in reality, loaded guns.

A friend asked if me if I believe in angels. Well, here it is: I don’t just believe in them, I’m on the battlefield with them. I talk to them (just so you know, they have yet to answer back), but, just the same, I know they are there.

There are many sources of wisdom and truth in this world besides the Bible. I personally own hundreds of volumes of wisdom literature, from Socrates to Emanuel Kant. I’m not uninformed, but I have learned over the years to look at everything through the lenses of the Bible. I listen to many, but I put my confidence in few.

Thank you for your time; I hope this was helpful,


Dennis

The Wall: Propitiation (Part 4 of 8)

Propitiation

To illustrate the doctrine of reconciliation, we see man and God hopelessly separated by “The Wall,” an impassable barrier. The Wall constitutes MANKIND’S PROBLEM. In this section of our study we will examine the third brick in The Wall and learn how GOD’S SOLUTION removed it at the cross.

THE BARRIER, MAN’S PROBLEM:

The third brick in the wall is the character of God. You may be wondering why the character of God would constitute a problem for mankind?” God is love, right? Here is why: another aspect of God’s character is holiness, which means He is righteous (absolute goodness) and just (totally fair). Therefore, He, in no manner or way may compromises His integrity by having fellowship with any form of sin or even a sinful creature ( 1 John 1:5). So when the Bible speaks of God’s holiness, it is referring to the divine characteristics of righteousness and justice. These qualities are absolutes that cannot be compromised. Therefore, sin is an affront to God’s holiness. Please don’t get me wrong. God is not self-righteous or a prude. Those qualities are reserved for religious humans who prefer legalism over spirituality. Sin is simply incompatible with His divine nature. If you are human and proclaim to be without sin, the Bible says you are a liar (1 John 1:8).The Bible says, “Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and (spiritual) death through sin, and thus, οὕτως, literally, in this manner,(spiritual) death spread to all men, because, ἐφ’ ᾧ, literally, on the basis of which (spiritual death), all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). What this often mistranslated verse is saying is that we are not sinners because we sin. To the contrary, we sin because we came into this world spiritually dead, and for that reason, we commit sin (Romans 3:23). As a result, we are incapable of entering into the presence of God (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 8:8 cf. Exodus 33:20). Divine righteousness demands that every sinner be judged for his sins. In view of God’s justice, there is no one who is worthy to escape condemnation. As a result, man has a problem.

THE CROSS, GOD’S SOLUTION:

God’s solution to the problem of the character of God is propitiation. Propitiation refers to the fact that God was satisfied, even pleased with the absolute righteousness of Jesus Christ and was therefore justified in accepting His sinless life as the ransom price for our eternal souls.

In Romans 3:25, the Greek word, hilastarion, is translated “propitiation” in the King James Version (KJV) and “a sacrifice of atonement” in the New International Version (NIV). No matter how one translates it, the Greek word means that which appeases, makes atonement, or satisfies someone who has been offended. But in Hebrews 9:5, the same word is translated “mercy seat” (KJV) and “atonement cover” (NIV). Why two applications of the same Greek word?

Man! That is a lot of stuff to process. Therefore, please allow me to connect you with the ways of the ancients, specifically, the Romans, They were not like you and me. They did not grow up in a Western, Judaea -Christian society. What we are about to discuss is a matter of perspective.

 

The Pantheon

The Pantheon was originally a temple dedicated to all the gods of Ancient Rome. The way we see it today was generally how it was rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian in 125 AD.

The text in view here, in Romans, was written to believers living in a pagan culture. From a Gentile perspective, a propitiation, was a sacrifice to appease the gods. The purpose of the sacrifice would be to gain the favour of the gods or get them to overlook some sin or shortcoming. In the Bible, propitiation refers to the sacrificial death of Christ which satisfied the holiness of God on our behalf. Paul simply used the word to communicate a truth of the gospel in a way that believers from a pagan culture could relate to.

Now let’s look at the word, propitiation, from another perspective, specifically, the ancient Jewish perspective.

 

Herod’s Temple

Propitiation in the Old Testament: The Biblical concept of propitiation relates back to the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament.  The Hebrew word for propitiation is kapphoreth. From the Jewish perspective, it meant “mercy seat“. When the Old Testament was translated into Greek by the Hebrew scholars of the third century B. C., the Hebrew word, kapphoreth, was translated with the Greek word, hilastarion (Exodus 25:17).

 

 

The Day of Atonement: Prior to the Cross, God ordained specific rituals as expressions of worship and as training aids for communicating Biblical truths to people who were largely illiterate. Among these observances, certain animal sacrifices were used to teach God’s people about their Messiah, their Savior, and the plan of salvation. The Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16; 23:26-32) was the most solemn of all the rituals that involved animal sacrifices because it signified the sacrificial death of the Lamb of God.

Yom Kippur literally means “the day of covering” (Leviticus 23:27). This was the only day that anyone was ever permitted to enter the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle, or in the temple after it had been constructed. On this day only the high priest was able to enter, but only after he had brought an offering on behalf of his own sins (Leviticus 16:11-13).

Two sacrifices were required on this holy day: a young bull (Leviticus 16:6) and one of two goats (Leviticus 16:7-10, 15-16). The high priest sacrificed the bull on the brass altar as a sin offering for himself. The blood, representing Christ’s spiritual death on the cross, was collected in a basin and carried past the huge curtain into the Holy of Holies. There he sprinkled it on the “mercy seat.”

From the Hebrew perspective, the Greek word, hilastarion, as well as the Hebrew word, kapporeth, both meant “mercy seat.” They refer to the lid of the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant was a wooden box overlaid with gold. The acacia wood spoke of the humanity of Christ; and the gold, of His deity. Together these materials represented the uniqueness of the God-Man, Jesus Christ.

The ark contained three items: a pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the stone tablets upon which the Ten Commandments were written. Each of these items depicted sin. The tables of the Law were a reminder of Israel’s violations of the Mosaic Law, and therefore showed transgression against God’s authority. Aaron’s rod exhibited rejection of God’s plan regarding the authority of the Levitical priesthood, and the pot of manna called to mind man’s rejection of divine provision.

The “mercy seat”, itself was the lid that fit over the top of the ark. On each end of the “mercy seat,” a golden figure of a cherub or angel knelt, looking down. One cherub represented the righteousness of God; the other, His justice. In between the two was the Shekinah Glory, a supernatural manifestation of God’s presence (you can Google it). Together they represented the holiness of God which was looking down into the arc at the sins of Israel in judgment. But once a year, on the Day of Atonement, a wonderful event took place. The blood of a bull was sprinkled on top of the “mercy seat”, so that when righteousness and justice looked down, they saw the representation of the blood of Christ covering the sins of the high priest. God’s holiness was satisfied on his, the high priest’s, behalf.

The high priest then went out and sacrificed one of the goats as an offering for the people. Bringing the goat’s blood in a bowl, he entered the Holy of Holies a second time, and again he sprinkled blood over the “mercy seat.” This time the spiritual death of Christ was dramatized as covering the sins of all the people.

Without the symbolic blood of animals, not even the High Priest of Israel could enter the Holy of Holies. Jesus Christ, having completed His work on the cross, breathed His last words, “It is finished,” and His soul and spirit departed His broken body.  (John 19:30). At that point, the great curtain that blocked entry to the Holy of Holies was miraculously, ripped from top to bottom by the mighty power of God (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45). This event told the world that Christ had removed the third brick in The Wall between God and man.

Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He (Christ) entered the Most Holy Place once for all having obtained eternal redemption (for all mankind), ” (Hebrews 9:12).

Jesus Christ never entered the Holy of Holies in the Temple which was a mere shadow. But when He ascended, He entered the real Holy of Holies, the literal presence of God in heaven (Hebrews 9:24). In contrast to the Levitical high priest who had to enter the Holy of Holies twice, the Lord, Jesus Christ, our high priest, required no special offering on His own behalf. Instead, the perfect Lamb of God offered Himself as a sacrifice to pay for the sins of all mankind.

Therefore, “He (Christ) is the atoning sacrifice, hilasmos, lit. propitiation, for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).

 

When God looks at the believer, He never looks beyond the blood of Jesus Christ that covers our sins. As a result, His holiness is eternally satisfied, and we are free to enter into His loving embrace.

The Wall: Expiation (Part 3 of 8)

EXPIATION

Expiation

To illustrate the doctrine of reconciliation, we see man and God hopelessly separated by “The Wall,” an impassable barrier. The barrier constitutes MANKIND’S PROBLEM. In this section of our study we will examine the second brick in the wall and learn how GOD’S SOLUTION removed it at the cross.

THE BARRIER, MAN’S PROBLEM:

The second brick is the penalty for sin. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). When Adam chose to disobey God in the Garden of Eden, he brought the penalty of spiritual death crashing down upon the entire human race (Romans 5:12). As a result we come into this world spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1, 5; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Colossians 2:13). By our very nature we are born enemies of God (Romans 5:10) and children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). As a result, man has a problem.

Here is the part where I get to tell you a story.

God created Adam, and he was perfect (ladies, don’t even try to envision this man, he doesn’t exist anymore than does the Garden of Eden). Then God told him to go out into the world and give everything a name (Geneses 2). However, during the process, Adam noticed a discrepancy in Eden between God’s creation and himself. All the creatures he had been observing, naming and categorizing came in pairs. All but he, and he alone, had a mate. And so, he discovered a feeling he had never experienced before. He became lonely. It was not a very nice feeling. It hurt, way down deep inside, in a place that he had not ever even known existed. It was then, I believe, that the first tear fell and trickled down the face of humankind.

Since the only real friend Adam had ever known was his Father, God, he raised his eyes to heaven and wondered, “What would it be like, to touch the face of another of my kind? What would it be like to be with someone and share life? And so, he wandered, and he felt something that he had never felt before. He felt desire. What must that have been like? To want to love a woman, having never met one, and to want to be a father, having never experienced anything outside of what went on in the animal kingdom to which he was confined.

Then God looked down at His only man child, and He felt compassion. Yahweh was the first to speak, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” (Genesis 2:18). And that’s how it happened; how the world of humanity came into existence. It all began in a garden.

In the beginning they were happy, Adam and his beautiful bride, Eve. At sunset, Yahweh would come to the garden and they would walk together. Then they would sit and talk, in the cool of the day. They stood together, shoulder to shoulder and marveled at the sunset, as the world around them closed their heavy eyelids and drifted off peacefully to a place that has long been forbidden to us.

But there was evil crouching in that pristine forest behind them. It was lurking behind the bushes, waiting for just the right moment, patient until the time was right. And, in stride with all else, alliances were being formed. And strategies, woven by a serpent, slithering along the damp forest floor. Evil plans were being formulated by a wicked monster. A creature, a dark thing, bent on destruction of all that God had created, blessed, and brought into existence.

And all the while, this force, this thing, this creature with only one obsession, laughing, snickering really, an evil sound unbridled by conscience, or anything holy was merely masterminding his own destruction. But that is a story I shall reserve for another day.

THE CROSS, GOD’S SOLUTION:

“What was their crime?”

This is a picture of real people being escorted to their unjust execution. Why would I show you this? Because I want you to think about something. Life and death is not about justice. It’s a choice. If you want to understand the purpose of life, than you need to understand the creator and sustainer of life. He is not without a plan. Everything He has ever done has a purpose, and it includes you. Please listen carefully to what I am about to say.

**Picture temporarily omitted

I reiterate, “What was their crime?”

“Being born.”

“And for that they must die?”

“Yes.”

“Doesn’t seem fair.”

“It’s not. So God stepped in”

God’s solution to the problem of the penalty for sin is expiation. The word expiation means to pay the penalty for a crime committed and thereby atone for a wrong that was done. When Adam and Eve were placed in The Garden they were given a command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17a). The penalty for disobedience was instant death (Genesis 2:17b). Since Adam continued to live to be over nine hundred years old (Genesis 5:5), the death that he died on the day that he ate the fruit must have been a category of death other than physical. The day Adam and Eve ate the fruit they died spiritually.

What is spiritual death? Spiritual death is separation from God. It occurs when one falls short of God’s glory or divine integrity. If God were to disregard any aspect of His divine essence in order to enter into fellowship with a fallen creature, He would, in the process, compromise His divine integrity and, as a result of that compromise, cease to be God. Since God is immutable (unchanging) and incapable of compromising any of His divine attributes, He must turn away and separate Himself from anything that is less than perfect. When Adam fell into temptation, he willfully disobeyed God. In doing so, he changed his nature from God centered to self centered. By an independent act of his own will Adam became, by nature, a child of wrath and separated from God. At this point the Adamic or sinful nature came into existence (Rom. 6:6; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9) and the nature of man was corrupted (Jeremiah 17:9; Eccl. 9:3) throughout all generations to come (Romans 5:12, 19; 1 Corinthians 15:22).

Repercussions of spiritual death: Since man is spiritually dead there is nothing that he can do to appease God in order to escape judgment (Romans 8:8). As we noted earlier to expiate means to make amends for committing a crime. A criminal makes amends by serving a prescribed sentence. After taking his punishment, the accused has paid his debt to society, and legally, the guilt is erased. But mankind can never repay its debt to God. Spiritually, the natural man is totally bankrupt. He owes God perfect righteousness, but is without the means to come up with it. There is none righteous, no, not one”(Romans 3:10).

Without the work of Christ on the cross, mankind would be doomed to eternal judgment; yet, God never leaves man in a hopeless situation. The substitutionairy death of Christ cancelled the staggering debt of the penalty of sin against us (Colossians 2:14). Only God’s grace can supply complete and perfect payment.

Since it is impossible for us to approach Him, God chose to come to us.

What did it cost? Acting as our substitute, Jesus Christ took upon himself the punishment for our sins. “The LORD has laid upon Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). God the Father judged those sins in His body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24). The penalty for our sins is spiritual death (Genesis 2:17).

At one point while our sins were being poured out on Jesus Christ and judged, He screamed, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34 cf. Psalms 22:1). What made Him scream? Our Lord screamed because “He (God the Father) made the one having never known sin (Christ) to be sin on our behalf, in order that we might become righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The payment for our sins was the substitutionary spiritual death of Christ on the cross. Jesus Christ, in His humanity, suffered spiritual death on the cross so that we could have spiritual life. Because God can have no fellowship with darkness (1 John 1:5), God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit had to turn their backs on the humanity of Jesus Christ while He was being made sin for us (1 Timothy 6:16).

Jesus Christ, as the only perfect man, was qualified to pay this debt. Our Lord was the “lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). Only the perfect humanity of Christ, “a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1: 19), could accomplish salvation.

When Jesus at last said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30), His atoning work was finished and the problem of the penalty of sin was removed.

How valuable are we! David declared the creation of the universe the mere finger work of God (Psalms 8:3). Yet Isaiah says that God made bare His holy arm in the accomplishment of our salvation (Isaiah 52:10). If God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16), then how valuable are we and how precious must we be in His sight!

The Wall: Redemption (Part 2 of 8)

REDEMPTION

By Dennis Coulter

For the sake of illustration, consider the “The Wall” between God and fallen mankind as a barrier composed of six bricks. The barrier constitutes MANKIND’S PROBLEM. In this section of our study we will examine the first brick of the Barrier and learn how GOD’S SOLUTION removed it at the cross.

THE BARRIER, MAN’S PROBLEM:

The first brick of the Barrier is sin. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one … For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10, 23). Sin is anything that falls short of the holiness of God or violates His expressed will. Since God can have no fellowship with sin (1 John 1:5-6) mankind has a problem.

THE CROSS, GOD’S SOLUTION:

God’s solution to the problem of sin is redemption. Redemption? Sounds like something out of a Shakespearean play or even worse. I will admit, it’s a pretty old fashioned word from an old translation of the Bible. But it’s a good word, a nice word really. It means freedom. But a special kind of freedom. The only kind that a lord could give.

Walk back with me, if you will please; back to a time in American history that not many of us would really care to retrace. But there was a shameful period in our nation’s past when we had the raw audacity to market flesh and blood. We sold people, like cattle, in the open market place, in front of our children. We broke up families and auctioned them, piecemeal as a section of property or unwanted furniture. We did that, and the title of a slave owner was “lord.” It has always been so. Lord! A title of absolute authority. But with absolute authority also comes the power to do good.

Imagine yourself as a slave tied to a whipping post. Your only crime was that you tried to escape. But you were caught and  dragged back to the slave market to be sold, but only, after your punishment had been administered. Suddenly, a cry is heard from the crowd. “Stop! Let him go! I wish to purchase him!” The man with the whip hesitates, he seems confused. This man, the man in the the crowd, is a “lord”, a man of means, well dressed. And people step aside as he moves through the throng of unwashed humanity.

Just then, the slave master comes forward and issues a command, “Stop! Right there! This slave belongs to me, and he owes me forty lashes for his crimes.” The lord responds, “I wish to redeem him. What is your price?” As the slave master, looks the young lord over, a malignant gleam emanates from the pupil of his eye. The words that follow are firm and precise, “Forty lashes, plus the price of a slave.”

Upon hearing these words, the young lord bows, takes off is shirt and walks to the whipping post to which the slave is bound. Then, turning to the slave master, he says, quite deliberately, “I understand the terms of of your offer. Let him go. I will pay his debt in full and pay the purchases price.”

And so he did. After the following events transpired, the slave approached his new master and knelt, placing his forehead upon the ground before him. But before he could utter a word, new his lord spoke these words: “I purchased you in order to set you free. You are redeemed. Please accept my gift and go in peace my friend.”

The thing in view here, from God’s perspective, is grace. It’s from the Greek word, χάριs, which means “gift.”

Redemption is a gift. But it is a very special kind of gift that can only be granted by someone with absolute authority, a “lord,” if you will.  You see, redemption is the process through which, one who has the authority and the means, uses his assets to purchase a slave, but not for the the purpose of indentured service. No! He, does it for the sole purpose, of  setting him free.

Because “there is none righteous” we have all come into this life as slaves. As the children of Adam, we were all born sinners, and upon our arrival to this fallen world, we were cast into the slave market of sin called Planet Earth. And there we will remain until the day we accept our redemption. As slaves we will serve our master, sin, as slaves forever, unless we accept God’s solution. That solution is redemption.

Now that you know what redemption is, let’s take a look at it from a Biblical perspective. In the Bible, redemption means to purchase a sinner from bondage to sin and set him free to serve God in the joy of the Lord. The price paid to redeem sinners from the slave market of sin was the death of Jesus Christ on the cross (1 Peter 1:18-19).

What is bondage to sin? With regard to sin, we all came into this world with three strikes against us:

Strike one!  First, we inherited Adam’s sin. “For just as through the disobedience of one man (Adam) the many were made sinners” (Romans  5:19a ).  As progeny, or offspring, of Adam, we were born physically alive but spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1, 5). As a result, we came into this world spiritually blind and separated from the life of God (Ephesians 4:17-18).

 

Strike two! Second, we were born with a sinful nature (Romans 6:6; Ephesians. 4: 22; Colossians 3:9). The sinful nature is totally depraved (Ecclesiastics 9:3; Jeremiah 17:9). The seat of man’s selfish, egocentric nature, anything it motivates either the carnal believer or the unbeliever to do is unacceptable to God (Romans 8:8).

 

Strike three! Eventually, we all commit personal sins. Let’s be honest. At one time or another we all fall short and miss the mark; that is to say, we all sin. But,  just so you know; you are not a sinner because you sin. You sin because you were born a sinner. It’s not even your fault, but you do have to deal with it.

You’re out! As far as God’s is righteousness is concerned we all came into this life a loser. We aren’t even qualified to try out for the team.  Perfect righteousness can have nothing to do with any of us. Paul quotes David “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10 cf. Psalms 14:1-3). However, thanks be to God that His love motivated Him to act in our behalf. “For God so, in this way, loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

 How did God love us?  Let us count the ways:

1. Strike one was cancelled at the cross. “So also through the obedience of one man (Jesus) the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19b).

2. Strike two was cancelled at the cross. In contrast to Adam, by means of the virgin birth, Jesus Christ came into this world without the imputed sin of Adam and without a sinful nature. Though Jesus did have a human mother His father was God the Holy Spirit. In this way Jesus was born fully human, but without the Adamic nature. In addition, Christ lived a life free from personal sin. Because Jesus was free from all three categories of sin, He was qualified to go to the cross and redeem sinful man.

 

As a result, the believer, being freed from bondage to sin, is justified to be filled with the Holy Spirit and produce fruit acceptable to God “…against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

3. Strike three was cancelled at the cross. The personal sins of the entire world were poured out on Christ and judged (2 Corinthians 5:21). Because his personal sins have been paid for by Christ, the believer need only confess his sins and turn back to God in order for fellowship to be restored (1 John 1:9; Psalms 51:1-3).

Who has been redeemed? When Jesus Christ died on the cross He paid for the sins of the entire human race, past , present, and future    (2 Corinthians 5:14; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; Hebrews 2:9; 2 Peter 2:1; 3:9; 1 John 2:3). Because Christ has redeemed the entire human race from bondage to sin, all anyone must do to depart the slave market of sin is walk through the door.

Where is the door? Jesus is the door to eternal life “I am the door, ἐάν τις, literally, the Greek says, if any man enter in (third class conditional clause: maybe he will, maybe he won’t) he shall be saved” (John 10:9). Once a person chooses to walk through the door by faith in Christ, he enters into eternal life with God forever (John 10:27-28).

The bottom line: The Wall, the sin barrier, between God and man has been demolished by Jesus Christ at the cross. The price of our redemption has been paid in full. We are free to walk through the door, from darkness to light. If a person chooses to remain in the slave market of sin, he does so by his own choice. The issue is no longer sin, but faith in Christ (John 3:16-21).

 

 

 

The Wall (Part 1 of 8)

The Life saving station

by Theordore Wedel

On a dangerous sea coast where shipwrecks often occur there was once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant vigil over the sea, and, with no thought for themselves went out day and night tirelessly searching for the lost. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews trained. The little life-saving station grew.

Some members of the life-saving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. Eventually, they replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building. In time, the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members. So, they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely and, through their efforts, it became sort of club.

As time continued to pass, fewer members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions, so they elected an administrative board, to hire life-boat crews to do this work. The life-saving motif still prevailed in the club’s decoration, and there was a liturgical life-boat in the room where the club initiations were held. Then a terrible tragedy occurred. A large ship was wrecked just off the coast. The hired life-boat crews rowed out to sea and diligently searched for the lost. In earnest, they brought in boat loads of cold, wet, and half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick and some of them had black skin and some had yellow skin. The beautiful new club was in chaos. So the property committee immediately had a shower built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s life-saving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted upon life-saving as their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked on those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast. And so, they did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. It evolved into a club, and yet, another life-saving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that sea coast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown.

 

RECONCILIATION

by Dennis Coulter

Objective: In this series of discussions, we are going to take a close look at all that God has done to reconcile fallen man to himself through the person and work of Jesus Christ. Our goal is to better equip the members of our church family to more effectively fulfill our personal roles in the accomplishment of the great commission. If you’re not sure what that is, just hang in there. This is only part one of eight. The sea of humanity is froth with souls, drowning in sin. And we, the church, have been given a mission, given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20).

And guess what Christians; this is it! We are the life-boat crews. Not the missionaries, not the evangelists, not the pastors. They have their specific missions. And, as far as I can tell, most of them are pulling their weight. They are professionals, it’s their job. And you darn well better be throwing nickels into the coffer to cover their expenses. But I’m not talking to them; I’m talking to you! What are you doing? Are you out there; rowing through the dark water looking for drowning souls, or sitting in a soft cushy chair in the lodge sipping lemonade? I’m drawing a line in the sand here. Step across or get out of the fight.

 

Well, if you’re still with me, let’s get started. First thing you’re going to need is a weapon (our enemy, Satan, is armed and dangerous). We Christians use a sword. The Roman, Biblical, term is, μάχαιρα, machaira. It was only eighteen inches long, but in the hands of trained professionals, it was the weapon that conquered the world. Our sword is, ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ, the Word of God.

Pick it up. Open it, and follow along. I’m an old vet. I’ve been training warriors for over thirty years. It’s really not that hard. Just pay attention. And have fun!

Definition: Reconciliation is the restoration of friendship and fellowship after estrangement. Biblically, it refers to all that God has done to remove the BARRIER between fallen man and Himself. The doctrine of Reconciliation explains the process through which God has enabled the lost to pass from darkness into light. Therefore, it was labelled, το εὐαγγελίοv, “The Gospel” by our Lord which literally means Good News (Mark 1:1; 15).

What is our responsibility? It is the responsibility of every believer to carry out the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18) through personal evangelism (Ephesians 6: 14-15; 1 Peter 3:15). In order to do this effectively, every believer must be willing and able to declare the Good News lucidly and with confidence. Discuss the feelings generated by this responsibility with a friend and then get back to me. I would be interested to know the the outcome. I really would.

The good news about The Good News: God has not commissioned us to represent Him and fulfill His purpose in our own power (1 Thessalonians 1:5). No matter what the circumstances in which we may find ourselves, we are never on our own in personal evangelism (Acts 1:8). Rather, God the Father, in accordance with His plan, has commissioned God the Holy Spirit to support every believer who desires to proclaim the Gospel with a three fold ministry. This ministry is called Common Grace: “And when He (Holy Spirit) comes He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement” (John 16:8-11).

1. “He will convict the world of sin.”  The Greek word for convict, ἐλέγξει, elegxei, means to convict or convince on the basis of evidence.

The Greek word for sin, ἁμαρτία, hamartia, means to miss the mark or fall short of a given standard. Man’s personal righteousness is not sufficient to qualify him to enter into fellowship with Holy God (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 8:8). It is the personal ministry of God The Holy Spirit to convict each person who hears the gospel of his inability to stand before God on the basis of his own personal righteousness.

“because they believe not in me.” God’s standard of righteousness is the righteousness that comes exclusively by faith in Christ (Romans 3:28). Therefore, the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin because they do not possess the righteousness of God by faith in Christ (John 16:9 cf. Romans 3:22).

2. “Of righteousness.” The Greek word for righteousness ,δικαιοσύνη , dikaiosunahe, means absolute conformity to God’s standard, purpose, and will. God the Holy Spirit convicts the world of the fact that they crucified an innocent man. Jesus Christ was exactly who He said He was. The Son of God, and  God the Son incarnate.

“because I go to My Father.” God the Father would not have resurrected an impostor. When God glorified Christ through resurrection and ascension, He publicly gave His seal of approval to the personal testimony of Jesus Christ.

3. “Of judgement.”  God, who is righteous and just, will execute judgement upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).

because the prince of this world is judged.” Satan, the declared enemy of God, the author of sin, and “the prince of this world” was defeated at the cross. As a result, it is only a matter of time until God executes judgement upon all His enemies. If He has conquered His greatest foe, Satan, then He will certainly subdue all others in due time. Through the clear communication of the gospel and the convincing ministry of the Holy Spirit this is deeply felt by the convicted sinner. While I’m on the subject of Satan. Let’s say there was an election a few years back; an election to elect the ruler of the world and you voted for Satan. How’s that worken’ out for ya’ ? How’s that world peace thing coming along? ”

Would you like to see a vision of world peace that you can take to the bank?

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21).

The better news about the Good News: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” (John 3:17).  Fearing that God will justly condemn him, the convicted unbeliever trembles at the apprehension of approaching condemnation. From this state of alarm there is no refuge but to run to Him who defeated the great enemy of man, and who is able to deliver him from the vengeance due to his sins.

The best news about the Good News: For those who seek refuge in Jesus Christ there is no condemnation (John 3:18). They have passed from darkness into light (John 3:21; 8:12). The barrier between God and man has been permanently removed (Ephesians 2:14-18 cf. Romans 8:38-39).

Clarifying the issue: The issue for the unbeliever is faith in Christ. The ministry of God the Holy Spirit in Reconciliation is to convince the world of their need for Christ on the basis of “sin, righteousness, and Judgement.”

The issue for the believer, then, is to make an issue of the issue and to make the issue clear in light of (2 Corinthians 6:3).

Conclusion:

Christianity is not a religion; it is a relationship with God the Father through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

The church is not a social club; it is a family of believers who are born again through faith in Christ and the regenerative power of God the Holy Spirit.

Our mission is not to beautify the beach; it is to go out into the sea of humanity and save the lost from drowning.


The Gap Theory

“The Gap Theory”

By Dennis Coulter

The Gap theory. I don’t buy the Gap theory, but I’ll tell you what. One of the most respected teachers and probably the greatest influence in my spiritual life is Pastor R. B. Thieme. He is with the Lord now, but he did believe in the Gap theory. He wrote a book called Creation, Chaos, & Restoration. It’s the best representation of the Gap theory that I have ever read, and it’s only about 50 pages. You can see it on line if you go to R. B. Thieme ministries, click on publications and then go to creation. You can order it at no charge or give a donation. That’s the way “Bob” did things, at least, that’s the way it was when he was running the show.

 Here’s my take on the subject:

 Mankind is not the product of evolution, but the direct creation of God. I believe that God created the earth with the appearance of age. He did the same thing with Adam and Eve (He created them as young adults, ready to procreate) and with the wine He provided at the wedding (John 2:1).

 Genesis 1:27 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;”

The 1st person plural form of the verb tells us that this is not only a statement, but a discussion. The persons involved would be the Triune Godhead. i. e. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

 … So God created man.  The creator of all that has been created is God the Son (Hebrews 1:10 c. John 1:1).

 “in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

What is particularly significant here is that God created man in His own image and likeness. This does not refer to our bodily form, since God is spirit (John 4:24). Rather, it refers to His spiritual, natural and moral likeness. In his spiritual likeness, man, through regeneration, may have fellowship with God (Ephesians 2:1, 5). In his natural likeness, man has intellect, emotions, and the free will to know and commune with God. In his moral likeness, man may know and obey the precepts of God.

 Old Testament Hebrew employs four words to depict the work of God in creation. The first, bara, is used exclusively with God as the subject. Generally, this word means “to create or to bring into existence by divine command.” In our context, bara means to create something from nothing. God created both the universe (Genesis 1:1) and the human soul from nothing, “So God created, bara, man in His own image; in the image of God He created, bara, him; male and female He created, bara, them.” (Genesis 1:27). He simply spoke them into existence (Genesis 1:3). Theologians call this creatio ex nihilo. It is interesting to note here that when God creates a soul and breathes it into a human body, He creates that individual with a predetermined gender. Therefore, it is not the body that determines the gender of a person, but rather, the soul that God breathes into it.

The second term, asah, generally means “to make something according to a specified pattern.”  In addition to bara, God also uses asah to refer to the creation of man, but from a different perspective. In Genesis 1:26 God said, “Let Us make, asah, man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” Here God uses the verb, asah, to emphasise the fact, when God creates a human soul, He does so based on the pattern of His own invisible essence. As noted earlier, “in Our image,” refers to God’s natural and moral likeness.

 The third Hebrew word, yatsar, is used to depict the forming of something as a potter molds clay. This word is used to describe the forming of Adam’s body from the elements or “dust of the earth.” Genesis 2:7 says, “The LORD God formed, yatsar, man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

In contrast to yatsar, which described the creation of the body of the man, the fourth verb describing creation is, banah. It means to “build or to build up i. e. increase a structure from existing materials.” The inference from this verb is that, from the woman, God builds the female, through whom the human race is to be built up from, by God, through the male. Some illustrations of this usage can be seen in Genesis 16:2: “So Sarai said to Abram, ‘See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her, banah mimenah.’” Literally, the verse says, “I shall be built up from her.” Sarai devised a scheme where, through the bodies of Abraham and Hagar, she could have children. The problem with the plan, besides the fact that it involved adultery, was that God promised that Abraham would be built up through the body of Sarah, and that Sarah would be built up through the body of Abraham. See also Genesis 30:3 where she, yet once again, tried to be built up, banah, through, another woman, her handmaid, Bilhah.

In Amos 9:11 banah is used to refer to God building up the family of David: “On that day I will raise up the tabernacle (Monarchy) of David which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it, banah, literally, build it up, as in the days of old;” During the days of Amos, the Davidic dynasty had fallen into a degraded condition. Through the prophet, Amos, God declared that, at the Second Advent of Christ, He will re-establish the Davidic Kingdom on earth, where Jesus will rule in His resurrection body for 1,000 years.

Grace Cleansing

This is a story of hope, directed to all of us who, at some time or another, have failed, or maybe, at sometime in the future will. If you are perfect, exit stage right, this is not for you.

By Dennis Coulter

Please let me begin with this. If you have not sat and talked with our Lord, Jesus for a while, He misses you. He told me so (Revelation 3:20).


2nd Samuel 11-12: As the curtain opens, David, the King of Israel, is supposed to be on the battlefield with his men, but he is not. He is at home, idle and walking around on his rooftop.

That’s where he was when he saw Bathsheba bathing, naked, and in his lust, summoned her to his quarters. 

During the interlude that followed, he got her pregnant. Then, in his desperation, he brought her husband, Uriah, home, from the battlefield, and tried to get him to sleep with his wife, Bathsheba (no explanation needed here).

 

But being the honorable leader of men that Uriah was, he would not, not while his men were on the battlefield deprived of the pleasures of their women. So David had him strategically placed, during the next battle, in harm’s way, where he would be sure to be killed; and he was. So that is how David got Bathsheba. He seduced her in an act of adultery (they both were married) and then had one of his most noble officers, Uriah, murdered so he could have her free and clear. That’s when Nathan showed up. God sent him, Nathan, to get in David’s face. It’s all there in black and white.

There it is, in all its ugliness and disgusting horror. Their boy died and went to Paradise (2 Samuel 12:23). David understood how these things work. So once the boy was departed, he cleaned himself up and resumed his duties as King of Israel.

My, my, what a world we live in. And this is just a Sunday School Bible time story.


I told you all that as a prelude to the following:

I do not know of any passage in the Bible where we are told to ask God for forgiveness. I know that is not a mainstream “popular” notion, but when it comes to pleasing God, it’s the truth. God doesn’t want us to ask Him for forgiveness; He wants us to obey Him in the first place. But sometimes, we don’t.

So, how do we handle sin when we do mess up?

If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, then this article is not for you. You need to deal with the issue of salvation.

I have dealt with the issue of salvation in my article: Reconciliation. It is published in seven parts and explains the details of your salvation thoroughly.

When we ask God for things, concrete or abstract, that’s a form of prayer, asking God for our heart’s desire.  But we don’t ask God for salvation. That’s a different issue.  In order to be saved, we don’t ask; we simply believe. The thing with God and salvation is this. What He wants from us is that we exercise our ability to choose. That capacity He instilled in us which makes us responsible (not a popular word these days) to Him. We have to make a freewill decision, a responsible choice to accept Him as God, and His Son as our Lord and Savior. And when we do, in response to that one act of humility, He blesses us with the gift of salvation. One doesn’t earn a gift. We merely extend our hand and accept it.

But what if you already are a believer and you sin. Then what? Well that is a problem, and that’s what we are here to talk about. What happens, when you, as believer, sins? The answer is simply this: you are removed from fellowship with God, and as a result, you lose the filling of t Holy Spirit.

What does it feel like, for us, as the believers, to be out of fellowship with God?

Walk with me a while, and let me paint a picture in your mind. You are in the privacy of your own home engaging, having fun with sin. Then, all of a sudden, you hear a knock at the door. What is your first thought; what emotion overwhelms you? You are suddenly filled with fear, anxiety and guilt. And those characters, as they sink their claws into you, are no fun to be around are they? How do they make you feel? Like crap, right? But what happened to the pleasure you were experiencing, when it was just you and indiscretion. What became of the joy, the ecstasy of the abandoned shackles of polite society? All the elation, the pleasure of  sin left you, didn’t it? Yes! It did, because sin is not your friend; he is a leach. And his purpose, his only goal is to suck the life out of you and steal your joy, the blessing that can only come from the filling of the Holy Spirit.

 

Now, someone’s at the door. What are you going to do? Find out who it is. Yes. Look through the peep hole to see who is. And who do you see, my Christian friend?  This is most awful; this is your worst nightmare, isn’t  it? It’s not Avon knocking at your door. It’s not a cute little Girl Scout peddling cookies. Nope, it’s Jesus! Jesus wants to come in and fellowship with you (Revelation 3:20). So you ask yourself, “What do I do?” And then, the answer comes to you, “Hide it.” And so you do. You try to hide your naked sin from God. So, how’s that working for you? He’s God! He already knows! And, what’s worse, you know He knows! So what are you going to do? The only thing that’s left, the only way out, is to just confess, come clean. You ever wonder what that expression means?

So you go to the door, and in a trembling voice you say, “Jesus, are you still there?” And He answers, “Yes, you know I will never leave you or forsake you.” Now, you can barely get the words out, “But Lord I’ve sinned.” And then He speaks the most gracious words you have ever heard, “I know. I only wanted to hear it, for you to come clean. Now that the air is clear, can you please open the door and let Me in. I’ve missed you.”

Did our poor Christian sinner ask our Lord for forgiveness? No! He did not. He merely accepted the invitation of our Lord to come in and be with him. By faith, out of obedience to God, he accepted Jesus on His Word and opened the door and fellowship was restored. (1 John 1:9; Psalm 51:1-3).

Now let’s go back and see how King David is doing:

Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.For I acknowledge my transgressions,

Please note the conjunction, for, in David’s plea (I say plea, because he had just committed adultery and murder). The conjunction translated for in the Hebrew means because or for this reason. The reason God forgave David was not because he ask Him to; it was because he acknowledged his sin before God. Until Nathan confronted him, he was trying desperately to hide it (2 Samuel 12:1-15).


Spiritual Life

The wonder of spiritual life: that realm has always held the greatest fascination for me. It goes beyond the threshold of this world and into all the wonders of eternity.

Dennis Coulter

Looking Up

By Dennis Coulter

My dad took the family to a drive in theater. It was summer, and I was all dressed up in my Dr. Denims (you know, those PJ’s with the little feet built in). The movie was over my head, I was like, four, so I slipped out the back window of my Dad’s Olds 88. They didn’t think it was possible for me to escape since the window could only be rolled half-way down.

I was a curious child. Not evil or even defiant, really. I never meant to cause any one worry or harm.  It’s just that, from my perspective, I was thinking, “What the heck is going on out there? I want to see! Come on guys; open the door!” So, I just escaped. And, you know, what’s really funny is, this was not the first time. Oh no! I thought I had made it perfectly clear through previous escapades, “I do not take kindly to confined spaces.”

Well, my adventure through a labyrinth of parked cars, inevitably led me to a world of wonder. It was well lit by a sign (which at the time, I was sure was a signal from God), of course, I couldn’t read, remember, I was only four.  But I was drawn by the light. The lights, the treats, fountains of popcorn flowing from an endless source, and ice cream carried to me by an angel named, Flo. I was in heaven.

Well, it wasn’t long before the announcement came over that little speaker that hung precariously on the car window, “We have a little boy in the concession stand. His name is Dennis, and he’s wearing blue pajamas.” My parents didn’t even bother to turn and look into the back seat. They knew! When they burst into that place that I had discovered, and termed, “Paradise,” there I was, eating ice cream and hanging with all my new friends. I was having the time of my life.

Well, fifty-seven years later, not much has changed. I am still that same curious child, crawling around the ledges, looking over the edge of discovery, and asking, “What’s down there?” Ugh! Not much, down there. Guess what? I was looking in the wrong direction. I was looking down. Nothing there but dirt.

So, I looked up and,” Wow!” The blue expanse of heaven!  Having taken in the spectacle revealed from above, something wonderful, beyond description, passed before my eyes, and then, something from deep within my soul nudged me and said, “Do you see that?”

I said, “Yes Lord.”

It was not really a verbal expression, but more a visceral response. Looking up, not even allowing my eyes to meet His. I said, “We’re going up, right?”

He said. “Oh yeah!”

 

 


(3 of 3) How God Answers Prayer

By Dennis Coulter

There is an attack, a war really, that has been waged upon our country, our culture, our families and our children. This war is not in Iraq, but it originated there. The first stone was hurled by a woman; her name is Babylon (Revelation 17:3-6). Sorry ladies, but that’s the way it began. And men, none of this would have transpired had you/we simply turned and walked away from her enticements. But before anyone starts casting aspersions, I’m here to let you in on a little known secret. It’s not your fault. I could say it was Adam’s, but he was just the fall guy. Eve, she was merely a pawn. The enigmatic mind behind it all was a one of the three most powerful, beautiful and intelligent creatures that ever came from the hand of God: Lucifer. He is the declared enemy of God and the source of every abomination that plagues the earth. The following story contains, among other things, an illustration of one of Satan’s greatest masterpieces, false religion, and how it is continually at work to contaminate any form of culture and society, including ours.

 

At the end of this story, Elijah will offer a simple prayer. He will make a request of God and reveal the desire of his heart. Let’s begin!

 

1 Kings 16:29-18:40 The story, I’m going to tell you revolves around licentious greed and unbridled passion fuelled by a wayward king named Ahab and his queen, Jezebel, the personification of wickedness.

The date is around 875- 885 BC. Jezebel has imported to Samaria (the ten northern tribes of Israel) no less than 450 prophets of Baal-Melkart, the Phoenician god of Tyre and 400 more from the temples of Asherah, the goddess of fertility. Upon their arrival, she immediately ordered the execution of the prophets of Yahweh, the God of Israel. A mere 100 of them were saved by the hand of Obadiah, a man of God, who engineered their escape and hid God’s prophets in caves.

 

 

 

Without the opposition of Israel’s Prophets, Jezebel’s heathen priests went out openly into the streets and proclaimed the power of Baal and the graciousness of his consort, Asherah. The prophets placed their hook into their listeners by explaining to the audience the ways and rituals of the great goddess of fertility. They spoke in terms that would make the most experienced, battle hardened soldier blush.