Thursday, June 21, 2018


The question to ask when something bad happens to anyone who seems to be a good person is not, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" But, "Why do good things happen to bad people?"

In the gospel of Luke there is an unparalleled account, where some people ask Jesus God’s anointed one about the reasons behind two tragedies. In the one, a group of Galilean worshipers were killed by Pilate and his Roman soldiers, while they were sacrificing in the temple. The soldiers cruelly mixed the Galileans' blood in with the sacrifices. In the other tragedy, a tower of some kind accidentally fell and killed 18 people. The people who questioned Jesus God’s anointed one supposed that the tragedies occurred because the victims were bad sinners. Our Lord's response shows a lack of real understanding of life on the part of those who asked the question.

And Jesus answered them and said to them, "Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:2-5 NKJV).

Is this a harsh response; one lacking in compassion? I don't think so. The Bible paints a vastly different picture of mankind than we paint.

We tend to think everyone is basically good.

The Bible teaches just the opposite.

It teaches that from the time of Adam's fall, there is no one truly good, no not one. In Romans, chapter 3 we read, "...There is no one righteous, no not one" (vs. 10).

And thus, the amazing thing is not that bad things happen to good people, but that good things actually happen to bad people! The amazing thing is that in the face of man's rebellion against God we don't see worse tragedies. The amazing thing is that God graciously offers to save and redeem people in Jesus His anointed one, rather than letting us all die. For the Scriptures teach, "...the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in God’s anointed one Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:21).

The Word of God teaches us that there are basically only two groups of people, those who are in Adam and those who are in God’s anointed one.

In 1 Corinthians 15 we read: For as in Adam all die, even so in God’s anointed one all shall be made alive. The word "in" is the Greek preposition en, and it carries with it the idea of being within the very center of something, of being surrounded within an object, or a sphere of influence. It indicates permanence and continuance, unless a stronger force comes along. As Adam is the founder and head of the human race, all who are descended from Adam are said to be in him. The end result of this union is death. Preceding that death are all the pains and problems and sorrows that afflict every life.

But as we are going to see, God’s anointed one Jesus is the founder and the head of a new race of people. And all who are in him find their lives lived with fullness of blessing. Because of the amazing grace of God in the lord Jesus God’s anointed one good things can happen to bad people. The apostle Paul tells us of these good things in his letter to the Ephesians:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus God’s anointed one, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in God’s anointed one, just as He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having marked us out beforehand to be placed as sons by Jesus His anointed one to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence (Ephesians 1:3-8).

Notice the phrase "in Him" repeated over and over again in these verses! To have life in God’s anointed one is to have a far more significant and satisfying existence than anything we could ever imagine. To have life in God’s anointed one is to have the resources and remedy, to deal with the fundamental concerns of life. It is to be able to live life with great blessing. These verses describe for us our blessing, and status, and glory because we are in God’s anointed one.

First, verse 3 tells us that we have in God’s anointed one, every spiritual blessing. All who are saved by faith in God’s anointed one are given in him every spiritual resource they may ever need to live life abundantly. We are given love, and grace, and peace. We are made righteous, and are given strength, and hope. In God’s anointed one we are granted everything we may ever need to enjoy life and to have a vital relationship with God.

Secondly, verse 4 says that in God’s anointed one we were chosen from before the foundation of the world, to stand before Him as those who are holy and without blame. We stand before God bathed in His love! We were chosen in His anointed one to live our lives in a distinctly different manner from everyone else. Being blessed by God in His anointed one, we were chosen to enjoy the fruit of our new status with God, the fruit of love, and peace and joy. And we can carry this fruit of our blessing in God’s anointed one, into all our relationships, and into every circumstance.

The Bible says that we can be, fruitful in every good work... strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and long suffering with joy (Colossians 1:10-11).

The third place: This wonderful section of Ephesians continues by telling us in verse 5, that we were marked out beforehand to be placed as God's sons. Literally, this means that in God’s anointed one we have been legally designated as God's heirs. In God’s anointed one we have been given a spiritual treasure that is inexhaustible and incorruptible. And there is nothing in life that could ever compare to this inheritance, good or bad. In Romans, chapter 8, we learn that:

The Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with His anointed one, if indeed we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:16-18).

In the fourth place, we have been "accepted in the Beloved [God’s anointed one]" (Ephesians 1:6). In other words, in Jesus God’s anointed one we have free access to God, we stand in the light of His good favor, and have available to us all the resources of our God. The practicality of this truth is that we can have a bold and loving confidence in our God as the following verses make clear.

In whom [God’s anointed one] we have boldness and access [to God] with confidence through faith in Him (Eph. 3:12).

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, his flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:19-23).

And lastly, Ephesians 1:7 points out that in God’s anointed one we have redemption and forgiveness of sins. In redemption we are bought out of the world's slave market, rescued from the power of sin. We are rescued from the world's foolish wisdom that really only leads to slavery rather than liberty. We are redeemed from the corrupting influences of our age. And in redemption we are redeemed, or delivered from the powers of spiritual darkness. As Colossians states:

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the son of His love, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:13-14).

Those who are in God’s anointed one are delivered from the manipulating influences and captivating powers of every devilish force. The believer in God’s anointed one never needs to be under the tyranny of the demonic. Never! And in God’s anointed one we are forgiven of our sins, cleansed through and through, spiritually healed and reconciled to God. In God’s anointed one we are totally delivered - saved.

For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His son; much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by [in] His life (Romans 5:10).
What a shame that the world around us scours the junk yard of the world's religions and philosophies, collecting trash to deal with life's problems, when the bountiful and practical blessings of God are freely given to us in Jesus God’s anointed one!

What really makes a difference in life?

How do we deal with the problems we face? Do we deal with life by deciding that yes God is good; but incapable of real help? Do we just get on with life thinking that maybe a change in jobs, or cities, or even a husband, or wife will solve our difficulties? Do we look to education for answers, to more governmental intervention? Government and its laws change very little, if at all. Education simply provides us with more facts, or with more questions. Moving to a new location physically or emotionally only changes the scenery, not the real issues of life!

It is changed people who change everything. And it is only God who changes people by taking them out of Adam and placing them in His anointed one Jesus. If you are a believer in the lord Jesus God’s anointed one, you have been radically changed. You are a part of a new race, a new creation, with new potential and a new destiny. And we are called to live differently.

For the love of God’s anointed one compels us, because we judge thus; that if one died for all, then all died; and he died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known God’s anointed one according to the flesh, yet now we know him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in God’s anointed one, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:14-17).

Once we believe in Jesus God’s anointed one as our lord and savior we are no longer who or what we were before. Even Jesus God’s anointed one is not now what he was according to the flesh. He is now glorified, filled with all the fullness of God. And in him, we are in all reality, a new creation, a new species. We can now live with new power, new purpose and with a new hope.

The word for "new" in vs:17, is the Greek word kainos, meaning not new in time, but new in quality. Verse 17 means that we have a new nature, different from the old. It means the believer can live in a new manner, with new power, bringing new results.

In salvation God recreates us and places us in His anointed one. In doing this, He gives us new life. He makes us new people. We now have divine power for the present, and hope for a new future. As Colossians 1:27 says, it is "God’s anointed one in you, the hope of glory." Old things, old fears, old hurts, old inabilities, old aspirations, can be gone, and all things can be made new! As a new creation in God’s anointed one, life takes on a freshness and a freedom that was simply impossible while we were still in Adam. We are given new life and new hope, only by being born from above. This is what Jesus told a man named Nicodemus.

There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "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." Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:1-3).

Without the new birth there is no new life, there is no new hope. Newness of life comes from being born from above. Now, it would be good to stop and think about this man Nicodemus for a moment. He was a Jew, one of God's chosen people. He belonged to one of the strictest sects of his time. He was a member of the ruling council of Israel, the Sanhedrin. He was a teacher of the law and he earnestly endeavored to live righteously before God.
But he was also a descendant of Adam and thus possessed Adam's fallen nature and destiny. No matter how hard this man tried, he could not achieve on his own, what God could give him in Christ. Nicodemus needed to be radically changed, to be born from above. In the Old Testament the prophet Jeremiah said to Israel:

Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil? (Jeremiah 13:23).

No one can change what is a part of their intrinsic nature. As Jesus God’s anointed one continued to tell Nicodemus:

That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit ... You must be born from above (John 3:6-7).

We must be given a new life

The word "birth" always carries the meaning of new life. And the life always partakes of the nature of the parent. A little puppy has the nature of a dog in him and nothing will change that. A human being has the nature of Adam, and nothing can change that except to be taken out of Adam and given a new birth in God’s anointed one. The only way to escape the death and tragic way of life that is found in Adam is to be created anew in God’s anointed one.

And you He [God] made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with His anointed one (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in His anointed one Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in His anointed one Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship created in His anointed one Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:1-10).

How can good things happen to bad people, to people who are dead in trespasses and sins? The answer is the grace of God in God’s anointed one Jesus! Those who are saved are now God's "workmanship created in God’s anointed one." The word "workmanship" is translated from the Greek word “poema” is a word used for a significant and extremely valuable work of art. The word was used for a masterpiece. We are God's masterpiece! His new creation in God’s anointed one!

Being a Christian doesn't mean making a few minor adjustments to life. It doesn't mean trying a little bit harder to be a little bit better. It doesn't mean forgiving God for His missing the call and then moving on!

Being a Christian means that you have undergone a radical spiritual transformation in God’s anointed one. Now we can and we must make a radical change in our thinking and in our living. The outstanding and valuable quality of our whole Christian life depends on understanding our secure position in the lord Jesus.

Romans 3:24 tells us that we were justified freely by God's grace through the deliverance from sin and freedom from captivity that is in God’s anointed one Jesus. Romans 6:11 states that we need to reckon ourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in His anointed one. Romans 6:23 declares that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in God’s anointed one. Romans 8:1, simply states that there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in God’s anointed one. Romans 8:39 boldly proclaims that nothing past, present or future shall ever be able to separate us from the love of wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and deliverance from sin.

2 Corinthians 1:21 tells us that it is God who establishes us, or fixes us in His anointed one, indicating our security. 2 Corinthians 2:14 proclaims that God always leads us in triumph in God’s anointed one. 2 Timothy 1:9 says that God saved us not according to our own works, but according to His own purposes that were given to us in God’s anointed one before time began. And Philemon verse 6 says that the sharing of our faith becomes effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing that is in us in God’s anointed one!

The heart of the gospel is that we are complete in God’s anointed one!

As you have therefore received God’s anointed one Jesus as lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to God’s anointed one. For in him dwells all the fullness of the nature of God; and you are complete in him, who is the head of all principality and power (Colossians 2:6-10).

We must not allow ourselves to be robbed out of our fullness in God’s anointed one by worldly wisdom. In God’s anointed one we are complete. In God’s anointed one we move out of death into life, we move from tragedy to victory! Being in God’s anointed one is a vital, spiritually organic, intimate union that involves a shared life, a shared love and a shared destiny which no one can ever change.

[This article is taken from Chuck's book Christ Our Life which is available from Grace Ministry USA, 7359 N. Hoyne, Chicago, IL 60645]

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


by Richie Temple Cary, North Carolina

The central purpose of God's plan of salvation was to create for himself "a people" - children of his very own - who would share in the blessings of God's goodness and bring forth the fruits of their relationship with him "to the praise of his glory." This plan of God was "purposed" in His anointed one Jesus (Ephesians 1:9) before the creation of the world and "accomplished" in time through the anointed one's redemptive work for God's people (Ephesians 3:11). The central focus of this plan is clearly set forth in Paul's Letter to the Ephesians:

Praise be to the God and Father of our lord Jesus the anointed one, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in the anointed one - Messiah. For He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be placed as His sons through Jesus the anointed one - Messiah, in accordance with His pleasure and will - to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the one he loves (Ephesians 1:3-6).

Though God's choice to have a people in His anointed one was conceived in His love "before the creation of the world," it was worked out "in history" through God's choice of Abraham and his seed - Jesus/Israel - to be the vehicle of bringing the blessings of his salvation to "all nations" of the world. This is explicitly recorded in the Book of Genesis:

Then Yehovah said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of Yehovah by doing what is right and just so that Yehovah will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him (Genesis 18:17-19; cf. 12:1-3; 15:1ff).

This promise to Abraham culminates in the coming of Jesus the Messiah from the people of Israel (Romans 9:4-5). He is the true "seed of Abraham" (Galatians 3:16) and the "elect" or "chosen one" of God (Isaiah 42:1-4; Luke 3:22, 9:35). He is, in fact, the representative leader of God's people (Daniel 7:13ff.); indeed, he is in a sense the ideal "Israel" (Matthew 2:15; Hosea 11:1; Isaiah 49:3) - embodying in himself God's purposes and destiny for His people.

Andrew Lincoln, in his commentary on Ephesians, explains about God's election of a people and the fulfillment of his purposes "in Christ - in God's anointed one":

God's purpose in choosing out a people for himself is of course a familiar idea in the OT (e.g., Deuteronomy 7:6-8; 14:2), which witnesses to Israel's consciousness of God's choice of her in the midst of the twists and turns in her historical fortunes. God had chosen Abraham so that in him the nations of the earth would be blessed, and Israel's election was not for her own self-indulgence but for the blessing of the nations: it was a privilege but also a summons to service. Christian believers also have this consciousness of being chosen to be the people of God. The new element was the [in Christ - in God's anointed one] phrase. Their sense of God's gracious choice of them was inextricably interwoven with their sense of belonging to God's anointed one. God's design for them to be His people had been effected in and through His anointed one. They saw him as God's Chosen One. Indeed, Paul in Galatians 3, treats God's anointed one as in a sense fulfilling Israel's election. Jesus is the offspring of Abraham par excellence (3:16) so that they too, because they are in God's anointed one, are Abraham's offspring (3:29). The notion of being chosen in God's anointed one here in Ephesians is likely to include the idea of incorporation into God's anointed one as the representative on whom God's gracious decision was focused [WBC, Ephesians, p. 23].

Thus, it is "in God's anointed one" that all of God's purposes for His people - as well as for His creation - are brought to fulfillment (Galatians 3:16-29; Ephesians 1:3-14).

The phrase "in Christ - in God's anointed one" therefore sets forth a key concept that ties together the Old Testament and the New and that provides the basis for the life of all Christian believers. In fact, the "in Christ - in God's anointed one" concept is the key to both the continuity - as well as the discontinuity - which the NT people of God have in relationship to the OT people of God, Israel. As for continuity, NT scholar F.F. Bruce states:

Jesus provides in himself the vital continuity between the old Israel and the new, and his faithful followers were both the righteous remnant of the old and the nucleus of the new (The Origin of the Bible, p.12, Tyndale Pub., emphasis mine).

It is "in Christ - in God's anointed one" that new covenant believers "participate" in the "body" and "blood of God's anointed one" - a truth that is so vividly symbolized in the lord's supper (I Corinthians 10:15-17). Jesus called out and chose his twelve apostles from the nation of Israel to be the leaders of the called-out Assembly, beginning with the faithful remnant of Israel (Matthew 16:18). It was specifically "for them" (i.e., "for you" Luke 22:19-20) - the representatives of the new covenant people of God - that Jesus' body was "broken" and Jesus' blood was "poured out". And so, through the apostles, Jesus established with the called-out Assembly "the new covenant in my blood" (Luke 22:14-20; cf. I Corinthians 11). Thus, the continuity between the Old and the New Covenant people is established "in Christ - in God's anointed one."

But it is also "in Christ - in God's anointed one" that the discontinuity between the Old and the New takes place, for the new covenant people of God no longer consist of just "Israel according to the flesh" (I Corinthians 10:18). Instead, "in Christ - in God's anointed one" the reconciliation of all mankind - both Jew and Gentile - has taken place. Therefore, all barriers between Jew and Gentile -as well as between man and God - have been broken down. The result is "one new man in God's anointed one." As Ephesians states:

But now in God's anointed one Jesus you who once were far away (i.e., Gentiles) have been brought near through the blood of God's anointed one. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two (Jews and Gentiles), thus making peace (Ephesians 2:13-15).

Thus, via Christian believers' incorporation "in Christ - in God's anointed one" direct continuity is maintained with the Old Testament people of God - making the Old Testament the spiritual history of the called-out Assembly. And yet, there is also discontinuity in the fact that the one people of God no longer consists of only "Israel according to the flesh" (I Corinthians 10:18) but has expanded to include all people - both Jew and Gentile - who by faith and the Spirit are incorporated "in Christ - in God's anointed one."

It is important to understand that both "election", "predestination" and the "in Christ - in God's anointed one" concept are all corporate concepts in the Bible. It is only by being incorporated into God's anointed one - through faith and the Spirit - that individual believers become part of the "elect" or "chosen people" of God (e.g. Colossians 3:12; I Peter 1:2; 2:9). Just as Israel as a nation was called to be the OT chosen people of God, so in the new covenant era the people of God are the "elect" or "chosen people" of God only as a corporate entity "in Christ - in God's anointed one" (Ephesians 1:4). As C.K. Barrett explains:

It is important to recall here that the seed of Abraham contracted till it became ultimately Gods's anointed one Jesus (Galatians 3:16) and was subsequently expanded to include those who were in God's anointed one. This means that election does not take place arbitrarily or fortuitously; it takes place always and only in Christ - in God's anointed one. They are elect who are in him; they who are elect are in him. It is failure to remember this that causes confusion over Paul's doctrine of election and predestination (cf. Galatians 3:29 emphasis mine). [Black's NT Commentaries, Romans, p. 171.].

F.F. Bruce, then, summarizes for us the NT doctrine of election in his commentary on Ephesians:

It was in Christ - God's anointed one, then, that God chose his people "before the world's foundation." This phrase ... denotes the divine act of election as taking place in eternity. Time belongs to the created order: believers' present experience of the blessings bestowed by God is the fulfillment on the temporal plane of his purpose of grace toward them conceived in eternity. As the fulfillment is experienced "in Christ - God's anointed one," so is in him that the purpose is conceived. If, as Colossians 1:16 affirms, it was "because of him" that all things were created, so we are assured, earlier still it was "because of him" that the people of God were chosen. He is the Chosen of God par excellence; it is by union with him, according to the divine purpose realized in time, that others are chosen [NICNT, Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, p. 254, Eerdmans).

"New Creation!"

It is important to realize that the phrase "in Christ - God's anointed one" encapsulates an eschatological perspective - i.e., a perspective which recognizes the fulfillment of God's promises, bringing "the end" to this present age, and ushering in the age to come. This perspective was the driving force of the new covenant believers of the first century called-out Assembly. The resurrection of God's anointed one and the giving of the Spirit were clear signs to the first century called-out Assembly that the end of the present age had already begun and that the firstfruits of the age to come was already theirs. They were thus a people living "between the times" of the old and the new creation. But, as C.K. Barrett explains, it was only "in Christ - God's anointed one" that believers now participated in this reality.

"In Christ - in God's anointed one" is itself a Pauline phrase of central ... significance. It is best explained as originating ... in primitive Christian eschatology. The death and resurrection of Jesus were eschatological events, affecting the transition from this age to the age to come. Believers could take advantage of this transition, but the transference from the one age to the other could take place only "in Christ - in God's anointed one" (ibid., p. 119).

A key verse in understanding this perspective is, of course, 2 Corinthians 5:17. I quote this verse in several different versions for comparison sake:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ - God's anointed one, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (NKJV; italicized words are not in the underlying Greek text).

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ - God's anointed one, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come (NIV).

So if anyone is in Christ - in God's anointed one, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! (NRSV).

For anyone united to Christ - God's anointed one, there is a new creation: the old order has gone; a new order has already begun (REB).

All of these translations have their good points but the New Geneva Study Bible summarizes the thought behind the verse in one of its notes and points out a key matter regarding the translation of this verse:

In Christ - in God's anointed one: Union with Christ - God's anointed one summarizes our experience of redemption. Believers are elected (Eph. 1:4, 11), justified (Rom. 8:1), sanctified (I Cor. 1:2), and glorified (3:18) "in Christ - God's anointed one." Here Paul focuses on the momentous significance of the believer's union with the Savior. Because Jesus is the "last Adam," the one in whom humanity is recreated (I Corinthians 15:45; Galatians 6:16; Ephesians 2:10) and who inaugurates the new age of messianic blessing (Galatians 1:4; cf. Matthew 11:2-6), the believer's spiritual union with God's anointed one is nothing less than participation in the "new creation." Translating "there is a new creation" instead of "he is a new creation" draws this conclusion more clearly, but the thought is there either way [p. 1835].

This is certainly an important point. "In Christ - in God's anointed one" believers have already become not just a new creation but a part of God's entire "new creation" of the coming age. The whole outlook of Christian believers should be conditioned by this reality. Believers' lives are no longer to be "conformed to this age" but to be "transformed by the renewing of your minds" (Romans 12:2).

Richard B. Hays in his book The Moral Vision of the New Testament summarizes this NT perspective for believers today:

According to Paul, the death and resurrection of Jesus was an apocalyptic [or, eschatological] event that signaled the end of the old age and portended the beginning of the new. Paul's moral vision is intelligible only when his apocalyptic perspective is kept clearly in mind: the called-out Assembly is to find its identity and vocation by recognizing its role within the cosmic drama of God's reconciliation of the world to Himself through His anointed one Jesus.

The image of "new creation" belongs to the thought world of Jewish apocalypticism. One of the fundamental beliefs of apocalyptic thought was its doctrine of the "two ages": the present age of evil and suffering was to be superseded by a glorious messianic age in which God would prevail over injustice and establish righteousness in a restored Israel." Paul's use of the phrase "new creation" echoes Isaiah's prophecy of hope:

For I am about to create a new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress (Isaiah 65:17-19 NRSV; cp. 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21-22).

When we hear 2 Corinthians 5 in the context of Isaiah's fervent prophetic hope for the renewal of the world, we understand that Paul is proclaiming that the called-out Assembly has already entered the sphere of the eschatological age.

The apocalyptic scope of 2 Corinthians 5 was obscured by older translations that rendered the phrase in verse 17 as "he is a new creation" (RSV) or - worse yet - "he is a new creature" (KJV). Such translations seriously distort Paul's meaning by making it appear that he is describing only the personal transformation of the individual through conversion experience. The sentence in Greek, however, lacks both subject and verb; a very literal translation might treat the words "new creation" as an exclamatory interjection: "If anyone is in God's anointed one - new creation!" ... Paul is not talking about an individual's subjective experience of renewal through conversion; rather, for Paul, ktisis ("creation") refers to the whole created order (cf. Romans 8:18-25). He is proclaiming the apocalyptic message that through the cross God has nullified the kosmos of sin and death and brought a new kosmos into being. That is why Paul can describe himself and his readers as those "on whom the ends of the ages have met" (I Corinthians 10:11). The old age is passing away (cf. I Cor. 7:31b), the new age has appeared in God's anointed one, and the called-out Assembly stands at the juncture between them. [The Moral Vision of the New Testament, pp. 19-20, Harper- Collins]

Whichever translation is chosen it is this perspective that should dominate the thinking of all who are "in Christ - in God's anointed one." In him "the old has gone, the new has come." It is for the purpose of participating in this "new creation" that God has called us and chosen us to be his children - so as to be a people who are transformed by the power and vision of all that we have in His anointed one. Once again, as so often, Paul's letter to the Ephesians summarizes these great truths in God's plan of salvation:

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with God's anointed one even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with His anointed one and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in God's anointed one Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in His anointed one Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are His workmanship, created in His anointed one Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:8-10 NIV).

This is truly "amazing grace!" May we be found worthy of such a high and holy calling.

Edited by Bruce Lyon

Monday, June 11, 2018


The New Birth

Being saved, being born-again1 is the most wonderful and life changing thing that can happen in a person’s life. When you believe that Jesus God’s anointed one is the lord of your life and that God has raised him from the dead you are saved.2 And you are much more than a person who has been forgiven all their sins, you are a changed person.3

Sadly too many Christians do not understand this truth. When you are saved you become not only a forgiven person but a qualitatively different person. The Word of God says:

Therefore, if anyone is in God’s anointed one, he is a new creation; old things have  passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

If you are a believer in the lord Jesus God’s anointed one, then you are a new creation. You are qualitatively different at the core of your being then before you were saved. You have new life in you the very life of God in His anointed one, is in you by way of the Spirit of God. Old fears, old values, old priorities and beliefs can be replaced with new godly values and beliefs. And these values and beliefs lead to a new way of living because of the hope of everlasting life in the coming kingdom of God. Do you remember what Jesus God’s anointed one told Nicodemus in John 3?

There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by   night and said to Him, “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 from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:1-3)

When Nicodemus came to Jesus for more light on the kingdom of God, Jesus didn’t say, “Hey Nick, you are on the right track to everlasting life. Just keep doing the best you can and all will be well.” That is how most people think about salvation. They say, “Well, basically, I am a good person so God will save me.“ But Jesus told Nicodemus that we must be born from above.

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit4 , he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ (John 3:5-7)

That which is born of the flesh is flesh. And the Bible teaches that in our flesh dwells no good thing.5 We are descendants of fallen, sinful Adam. And since everything reproduces after its kind we are natural sinners. Therefore we must be born from above and given a new nature through the Spirit of God in order to have the hope of everlasting life.

Jesus God’s anointed one did not mean that we need to be reborn in some vague metaphorical way. He was talking about a real, radical change in one’s essential nature. Just as physical birth is real and we have a human nature, so the new birth is real and we are given a divine nature. The Bible tells us that when we are born from above we are born of incorruptible seed we receive a divine nature.

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born from above, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever (1 Peter 1:22, 23)

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature6, having escaped the corruption that is in the world 4 through lust. (2 Peter 1:2-4)

Having become a partaker of the divine nature, in a very real sense, having been saved and born from above, you are a new species. Here is what I mean.

And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. (1 Corinthians 15:45)

When Adam was created, God breathed into him and Adam became a living being. That which animated him was breath life. But since the time of Adam’s sin this breath life is perishable. Adam died and so will all of us unless we are alive at the time of the Lord’s return7 . But the “last Adam” Jesus God’s anointed one, at his resurrection became a life-giving spirit. That which gives Jesus life and animates him is not breath life but the Spirit of God.

However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second man is the lord from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly man. (1 Corinthians 15:46-49)

The natural man is the man who lives by breath life and this life perishes. But Jesus is now the spiritual man. And all of us who are saved by faith in God’s anointed one will one day be fully like him. When God’s anointed one returns we will all be transformed into his glorious immortal image.

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the savior, the lord Jesus God’s anointed one, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to his glorious body, according to the working by which he is able even to subdue all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20, 21)

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children8 of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. (1 John 3:1-3)

Could this really be? Did the love of God for sinners really go this far? Yes indeed. You may look the same as you did before being saved. You may weigh the same as you did before your were born again. You even may feel the same, but you are not the same! You are a new creation in God's anointed one. When you drag yourself into the bathroom in the morning and look in the mirror, you may see a sorry mess. But God sees you as His holy child. You are united to God’s anointed one and all that he is and has, you are and have. The Bible says, “as He is, so are we in this world”!9 The same divine power that raised God's anointed one from the dead is available to you so that you can live a powerful, godly Christian life.

God wants you to know, what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in his anointed one when He raised him from the dead and seated him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:19-23)

Once we were natural men and women, sinners who lived our lives according to the course of this fallen sin sick world. But then God united us to Christ when we believed.

Our old sin nature:
Was crucified with God’s anointed one – Galatians 2:20
Died with God’s anointed one – Romans 6:3
Was buried with God’s anointed one – Romans 6:4

Then by the grace and mercy of God:
We were made alive with God’s anointed one – Romans 6:4, Ephesians 2:5
Raised up with him to a position of authority – Ephesians 2:6

And when God’s anointed one returns as King of kings then we too:
Will be given immortality and appear with him in glory – Colossians 3:1-4

We are now a new creation. We are God’s workmanship or masterpiece.10

1. Literally, born from above
2. Romans 10:9, 10
3. You are encouraged to listen to our read the Bible teaching series “Born Again” in the concluded teaching series archive at
4. The Lord Jesus was not referring to literal water, or to the ceremony of water baptism, but to true spiritual cleansing from sin. In the Old Testament water is often associated with the Spirit of God to indicate the cleansing from sin and the giving of a new nature in the new covenant (Ezekiel 36:24-27). This image is repeated again in Titus 3:5
5. Romans 7:18
6. This new divine nature born within us is the fulfillment of the promise of the new covenant. Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:24-27. Even though this new covenant was initially promised to those in Israel who believed there was a mystery—gentiles who believed would be saved and receive a new nature too. This mystery was revealed to the apostle Paul (Ephesians 2:11-13; 3:1-7). See appendix 2 on the mystery.
7. 1 Corinthians 15:50-58
8. The Greek word translated “children” is teknon. This is a child of natural descent having the seed of his or her father.

Edited by Bruce Lyon

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Jesus was the unique, one of a kind, son of God

Jesus was a unique, one of a kind, son of God. The place in the scripture that says he is "the only begotten son of God" is not a proper translation. I have edited the verses to indicate the proper translation.

John 1:18: No man has seen God at any time; the unique, one of a kind, Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared Him.

John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his unique, one of a kind, Son, that whosoever believes on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:18: He that believes on him is not judged: he that believes not has been judged already, because he has not believed on the name of the unique, one of a kind, Son of God.

1 John 4:9: Herein was the love of God manifested in us, that God has sent his unique, one of a kind, Son into the world that we might live through him.

Since we also are placed as sons of God when we received the Holy Spirit then Jesus cannot be the only son of God, but he is the unique, one of a kind, son of God, because he was the second man specially created of God, Adam being the first and as a result both are called the son of God.

Notice: The Greek word for only begotten in John 3:16 is μονογενής (monogenēs). For many years it was thought that this word came from two other Greek words: μόνος (monos), meaning “only,” and γεννάω (gennaō), meaning “beget,” or “bear.”

However, this is a misunderstanding of the two Greek terms. Modern linguistic research has shown that “gennaō” comes from the word γένος (genos) and means “class,” or “kind.”[1] Other lexicographers agree with this conclusion.[2] For the word to be translated in English as only begotten, the Greek word would have been μονογέννητος (monogennetos) instead of μονογενής (monogenes).

Therefore, it is more accurate to translate μονογενής as only, one of a kind, or unique rather than only begotten.

Further support of this idea can be found in the New Testament’s use of this word. The word μονογενής appears nine times in the New Testament. Luke uses this term three times (7:12, 8:42, 9:38), John four times as a designation of Jesus’ relationship to God (John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9), and the author of Hebrews uses this Greek word once (Hebrews 11:17). In the Luke passages, μονογενήςis is translated as only by most English translations. A clear meaning of this word can be found in Hebrews 11:17. Here Isaac is said to be Abraham’s only begotten (μονογενής) son. However, Abraham had other children as well (Ishmael, Midian, Jokshan, Ishbak, Medan, Shuah, and Zimran). Therefore, Isaac was unique (μονογενής) in the sense that he was the child of the promise and the others were not. In this context, μονογενής does not mean that Isaac was Abraham’s only begotten son (as defined by OED), but rather that he was the only unique son of Abraham.

In conclusion

The phrase only begotten is apparently based on the word’s supposed etymology. It is a mistake to base the understanding of a word’s meaning on its etymology (rather than its usage), especially if the etymology is wrong, as is the case of the translation “only begotten”. Monogenes does not mean only begotten neither in its etymology nor its usage and therefore only confuses the reader when reading it as such. Having a correct etymological understanding of the word “monogenes” helps the reader to understand that the lord Jesus was the unique, one of a kind son of God. He was specially created in the womb of Mary and thus had a beginning at his conception. He at his birth became the beginning of God’s new creation and we in him become new creation of God also! Amazing grace.

[1] William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 658.

[2] See Moulton, Milligan, Thayer, and Abbott-Smith

Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Rudimentary reorganization of the Kingdom will be made at Mount Sinai

The organization of the Theocracy took place before the Jewish nation entered Palestine. The appointment of officials, the giving of laws; the commandments to destroy the enemies of God, etc, were issued at Mount Sinai. It is eminently suitable that the reorganization of the Theocratic Government should be effected in the same place.

Observation 1

Taking for granted that the Theocracy will be organized in its Theocratic-Davidic form, so that the lord Jesus God’s anointed one; David’s descendant will dwell with the Jewish nation and be their King. It seems logical that no place on earth would be more suitable than Mount Sinai for organization of the Theocratic Government to be established here on this earth. It is an isolated place that borders the promised land wich at the time will be sorely pressed by the Antichrist with his confederated power. 

This is a place already highly distinguished, having enjoyed the presence of God, and having witness the entrance of God and people into a Theocratic relationship being expressly pronounced in view of its association, to be “holy”.

Daniel 2:44 particularly declares that “in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom. That is, previous to the final ending of the Antichrist’s empire, of Gentile domination, this kingdom will be already commenced, organized.

Observation 2

This Theocratic Kingdom is reorganized before the times of the Gentiles are ended. The breaking and consuming process upon which the Kingdom bring upon the Antichrist’s empire is expressive of a previous organization – for it is evidently an intelligent organized force that is set in motion against the kings of the earth and their armies.

The bible seems to declare that the Messiah, at his second coming meets with all those who are resurrected in the air and then takes them with him to Mount Sinai to organized the Theocratic Government that will rule the world from Zion.

After that organization has taken place then he will lead his immortal ones along with the physical remnant who fled from the Beast power to Sinai across the wilderness, across the Jordan river and then on up to Jerusalem there to take his place on the throne of David at Zion.

So we see that when those who are resurrected to meet the lord Jesus in the air are conveyed to Mount Sinai, where at the establishment of the Theocratic Government, positions are assigned, the kingship and priesthood inaugurated, the instruction given preparatory to the ushering oin of “the dispensation of the fullness of times.” After all the preparation are completed, and the time has come for “the manifestation of the sons of God;” the deliverance of the nation of Israel, and the destruction of the Antichrist’s empire. This associated body of rulers with the King of kings and Lord of lords at their head present themselves to the confusion of all enemies, and to the joy of the remnant in the land of Israel.

Observation 3

Let’s look at Psalm 68 with it’s reference to Mount Sinai. This Psalm, allowing its prophetic character, was never fulfilled at the appearing of God in the wilderness at the institution of the Theocracy.

The following psalm is Messianic and relates to the future.

Psalm 68:1-35: Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice. Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rides upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him. A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families: he brings out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land. O God, when You went forth before Your people, when You did march through the wilderness; Selah: The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel. You, O God, did send a plentiful rain, whereby You did confirm Your inheritance, when it was weary. Your congregation has dwelt therein: You, O God, have prepared of Your goodness for the poor. Yehovah gave the word: great was the company of those that published it. Kings of armies did flee apace: and she that tarried at home divided the spoil. Though you have lien among the pots, yet shall you be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold. When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it was white as snow in Salmon. The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan; an high hill as the hill of Bashan. Why leap you, you high hills? this is the hill which God desires to dwell in; yea, Yehovah will dwell in it forever. The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: Yehovah is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place. You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive: You have received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that Yehovah God might dwell among them.

Blessed be Yehovah, who daily loads us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah. He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD Yehovah belong the issues from death. But God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goes on still in his trespasses. Yehovah said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea: That your foot may be dipped in the blood of your enemies, and the tongue of your dogs in the same. They have seen Your goings, O God; even the goings of my God, my King, in the sanctuary. The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels. Bless you God in the congregations, even Yehovah, from the fountain of Israel. There is little Benjamin with their ruler, the princes of Judah and their council, the princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtali. Your God has commanded your strength: strengthen, O God, that which You have wrought for us. Because of Your temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto You. Rebuke the company of spearmen, the multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the people, till every one submit himself with pieces of silver: scatter You the people that delight in war. Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God. Sing unto God, you kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto Yehovah; Selah: To him that rides upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old; lo, He does send out His voice, and that a mighty voice. Ascribe you strength unto God: His excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds. O God, You are terrible out of Your holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God.

The psalms reference to the is evinced by its allusion to the resurrection (v.20); the great slaughter and complete overthrow of all enemies (v.1-3, 14, 21-23, 30); the restoration of the nation of Israel (v.22) although oppressed by a multitude (“sea”); the restoration of Theocratic rule (v.24-35); the kings of the earth bring presents, and the extended, world-wide dominion exerted (v.29-35). All this corresponds fully and accurately in every respect with the predictions pertaining to the ushering in of the Millennial Age or the Kingdom of God ruled over by God’s vice-regent the lord Jesus. Verse 8 and 17 also will be realized in the future, because this advent accords with what is ascribed to Jesus at his second coming.

What a distinguished place Mount Sinai will be in the future ages. The place where the marriage supper takes place before the bridal procession proceeds to Jerusalem!

Observation 4

Look at Deuteronomy 33:1-3; which embraces the blessings pronounced on the several tribes, and which from other predictions we know that shall only be fully realized at the restoration of the nation of Israel at the second coming of its King.

1 And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. 2 And he said; Yehovah came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; He shined forth from mount Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints: from His right hand went a fiery law for them. 3 Yea, He loved the people; all His saints are in Your hand: and they sat down at Your feet; every one shall receive of Your words.

Such a coming of the myriads of saints is only going to happen as a result of the future advent.

In Habakkuk is another reference to what will happen in the future.

In Habakkuk 3:3-5: God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise. And His brightness was as the light; He had horns coming out of His hand: and there was the hiding of His power. Before Him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at His feet.

Judges 5: 4-5: Yehovah when You went out of Seir, when You marched out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water. The mountains melted from before Yehovah, even that Sinai from before Yehovah God of Israel.

Isaiah 35: 1-4: The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of Yehovah, and the excellency of our God. Strengthen you the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.

Ezekiel 20: 35-38: And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, says Yehovah GOD. And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and you shall know that I am Yehovah.

Hosea 2: 14-15: Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give to her, her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.

Observation 5

Isaiah 63: 1-6: Who is this that comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore are you red in your apparel, and your garments like him that treads in the winepress? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in my anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.

This is obviously referring to the time just after the second coming of the lord Jesus as he comes rome Mount Sinai with the saints and the remnant of Israel that fled to escape the Beast through the wilderness across the river Jordan on his way to Jerusalem.

So we see that prophecy mentions Mount Sinai, Paran, the Wilderness. Mount Seir, Edom, Teman or the South, Bozrah, giving us a direct route from Mount Sinai northward to Palestine – Israel.


Isaiah 43:18-21: Remember you not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.

As we understand from this the Theocratic Government has been divinely instituted, and does so in a secluded manner and already organized so as to be irresistible.

Messiah will be the conqueror of Edom as Balaam of old predicted:

Numbers 24:17,18: I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not near: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly.

Isaiah 16:1-5: Send you the lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion. For it shall be, that, as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon. Take counsel, execute judgment; make your shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; betray not him that wanders. Let mine outcasts dwell with you, Moab; be you a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceases, the oppressors are consumed out of the land. And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.

Observation 6

Daniel 7: There is something remarkable in the structure of the prophecy. The investiture of the son of Man, David’s son, with the Kingdom, and the bestowment of judgment or rulership upon the saints associated with him, is done by the Ancient of Days, for the kingdom is given by Him to the son of Man and His saints - holy ones. This is done here on the earth, even as the Antichrist’s power, so arrogant and hostile, is in existence and holds sway over the nations.

The prophecy implies on its face a perfectly free unembarrassed, and even unexpected by the enemy, accomplishment of the preliminary arrangements pertaining to the Kingdom. Admit that Sinai and the wilderness is the locality where the Ancient of Days invests David’s son and His own with Theocratic power, and bestows upon him and the saints the covenanted and the difficulty vanishes. The prophet looks in the vision at the horn, and then, looking away from him, turns to gaze upon the prophetic picture presented at Mount Sinai without specifying the locality; thus passing from one to the other without commingling of them. Although the investiture is on the earth, yet it is effectually concealed from the interference of the powerful enemy which it is to destroy. When the Theocracy was originally established, it was done amid the most solemn and glorious manifestations, and Mount Sinai was purposely selected for the same. Now, when the same Theocracy is to b e reorganized in the most august manner under the leadership of the King, the lord Jesus God’s anointed one. In this Sinaitic arrangement, preparatory to “the day of vengeance,” Jesus the mighty King will indeed be a refuge.

Jesus is said to be a prophet like unto Moses and as Moses was commission by God to set up and establish a Theocratic Government over Israel, Jesus as a prophet like unto Moses will do the same in the same place Moses organized the Theocratic Government of the living God Yehovah, at Mount Sinai.

Psalm 98: 1-9: O sing unto Yehovah a new song; for He has done marvellous things: His right hand, and His holy arm, has gotten Him the victory. Yehovah has made known His salvation: His righteousness has He openly showed in the sight of the heathen. He has remembered His mercy and His truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Make a joyful noise unto Yehovah, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto Yehovah with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before Yehovah, the King. Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together before Yehovah; for He comes to judge the earth: with righteousness shall He judge the world, and the people with equity.

Friday, June 1, 2018

“Beloved, now we are children of God”

I love Galatians 3:23 to 4:7. In verses 23 and 24 Paul explains what was the role of the law: that it was a tutor for the time before the coming of the faith. It then moves on and tells us what happened when faith came:

Galatians 3:25-26: “But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus”! Faith in Christ Jesus, to believe that He is the Son of God, the anointed One, the Messiah, makes us children of God, His sons and daughters! Gospel means good news and these are really GOOD NEWS! “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved”, as Paul and Silas said to the prison-keeper in Philippi (Acts 16:31). “You are all sons of God, through faith in Christ Jesus”, adds the Word here! This reality makes my heart full of joy every time I read this passage. Then chapter 4 of Galatians continues:

Galatians 4:1-7: “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 appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

Verses 6 and 7 call us, once again, sons of God, His children. God has sealed this by sending the spirit of His Son into our hearts that cries out, Abba1 (daddy), Father! I have read this passage many times and it always gives me much joy. There is something however in it that used to confuse me. And this is the word “adoption” in verse 5. As we know adopted kids are not connected by birth to their adopted parents. This is the very difference between an adopted kid and a non-adopted one. The non-adopted one is connected by birth, by blood with his father and mother, while the adopted one by the act of adoption. I believe we will all agree that though it is wonderful to be a child of God, it is one thing to be an adopted one, where God has not parenting you by birth and quite another to be a child of Him because you were born of Him. I want therefore with this article to go together with you to the Scriptures and see what the Word of God says on the matter of being children of God.

How does one become of child of God?
What does it take?
Is it by birth or it is by adoption?

I believe by the end of this article we will have clear answers on these questions from the only authorized source that can give them: the Word of God. We may have at times to look at the meaning of Greek words. Be patient when we do this because I believe it is worth the effort.

The word adoption

The phrase “adoption as sons” used above is a translation of one Greek word, the word “υιοθεσία” (uiothesia). This word is composed by the word “uios” that means son and the word “thesis” that means placing. “Uiothesia” therefore means the “placing as sons”. To understand better its meaning in Galatians 4, let’s have a look at the context. Galatians 3:23-4:4 speaks about children that were under a schoolmaster. Children that were to inherit but were no different than slaves. In other words,children that though children they had the place of slaves:

Galatians 4:1-3: “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 appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children (Greek: “nepioi”, small children not able to speak, a little older than infants – not the same as “uioi”, the word translated as “sons” in Galatians), were in bondage (Greek: enslaved) under the elements of the world.”

Galatians 3:1-2 gives us an example of a heir that is under guardians and stewards till the time appointed by the father. As long as he is in this stage, as long as the appointed time by the father has not come, he, though son, has the place of a mere slave.“Even so we”, says Galatians 4:3: before the appointed time by the father, we had the place of slaves, we were enslaved under the elements of the world. Then verses 4-5 tell us what happened next:

Galatians 4:4-5: But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the uiothesia (the placing as sons).”

The word “but” that starts verse 4 puts in contrast what follows it with what precedes it. What was before? The appointed time of the father had not come; we had the place of slaves; we were enslaved to the elements of the world; we were under schoolmasters, guardians and stewards. The word “BUT” nevertheless introduces a change to this situation. What is this change? The fullness of the time, the appointed time by the Father, came! God sent forth His Son, to redeem those who were under the law, and from having the place of slaves we now got the place of sons. We can also see the same, using the words of Galatians 3:23-26.

Galatians 3:23-26: “But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

There was a time “before faith came”. This was the time of the law, the time of the schoolmaster, the time of the guardians and the stewards of Galatians 4. The time that we had the place of slaves. But then faith came, the fullness of the time came. Christ came! The schoolmaster, the guardian and the steward, the law that was all these, went away. We are no longer under it and we no longer have the place of a slave. Instead we now have the place of a son.

In other words the word “uiothesia” that is used in Galatians 4 and is translated adoption of sons, it would be much better be translated “the place of sons”. This word is not used to tell us that God is our adopted father, as the translation may make it to seem, but that we, with the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, with the coming of the faith, we changed our place and from having the place of slaves we got the place of sons. It does not speak about our relationship with God in terms of adopted versus begotten but in terms of having the place of sons versus having the place of slaves.

Born of God – not adopted

The fact that the above passage of Galatians and the word “uiothesia” there does not mean that God is our adopted Father can also be attested by a multitude of other passages of the Bible that make clear that we are not God’s adopted but God’s begotten children. Starting from John 1:12 we read:

John 1:12: “But as many as received Him [the Lord Jesus Christ], to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name [the name of Jesus Christ]”

The word “children” here is the Greek word τέκνα (tekna) that means “that which is born (from τίκτω, to bear)2”. It is a word that “gives prominence to the fact of birth3”. In fact the next verse makes it crystal clear. Let’s read it together with the above verse:

John 1:12-13: “But as many as received Him [the Lord Jesus Christ], to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name [the name of Jesus Christ]: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

From whom those children of God of verse 12 were born? Verse 13 answers: they were born of God! Obviously therefore if we are born of God, it is birth and not adoption that connects us with Him. And the Word makes this clear and we will also see it in more passages.

Next passage to go and see that it is a birth and not an adoption that connects us with God, making Him a literal Father to us, is in John 3:3-8. There we find Jesus and Nicodemus (a Jewish teacher) speaking about a second BIRTH.

John 3:3-8: “Jesus answered and said to him [Nicodemus], "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again [but the Greek says “born from above” - see also NIV margin], he cannot see the kingdom of God." 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?" Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. "Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again. [Greek: “born from above”]’ "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.

As Jesus makes clear there are two births that are available. The first birth is the birth of the water or of the flesh. This is the physical birth and all the people who have ever lived on this earth have taken part of this birth. Apart however from this birth, there is one more, that, as Jesus made clear, is a prerequisite to enter into the kingdom of God. This is the “birth from above”. Many translators have translated this as “born again”. As this is indeed a second birth and therefore to say that we were born again is valid4, what the Greek says here is “born from above”, which is another expression to say “born of God who is in above”.

We saw previously in John that the Word speaks of those who believe in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ as born of God. Here the Lord speaks about “born from above”. Both are the same and point out the fact that there is a second BIRTH that is required to bring us into the kingdom of God. This is the birth from God or the birth from above or the birth from the Spirit, as it is also called in the above passage of John 3. See again that the Word of God does not speak about adoption. Jesus didn’t say that we have to be adopted by God but to be born of God. It is this very birth that makes us children of God and give us the right to call God our daddy (Abba) Father. We could of course also call him father if we had been adopted by him, but obviously we do not have adoption here but birth. But let’s carry on and go to the first epistle of John. There in I John 5:1 we read:

I John 5:1: Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.”

We saw previously in John’s gospel as well as in Galatians that somebody becomes a child of God, by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. Here it is repeated again. Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ i.e. the Anointed one, the Messiah, is born of God. It is that simple and it is that good! It is also news to the world. Gospel means good news and these ARE really good news! Religion has hidden the truth and the beauty of the gospel. For years I had heard a lot about religion. A lot about what I should do to be OK with God. But nobody had told me that by simply believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the anointed One, I would become a child of God and could call God, my daddy, my Father. Yes, it is so simple dear reader. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved”, Paul and Silas said, as we read previously, to the prison-keeper in Philippi, when he asked them “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30-31). The same says the Word to God to you today too.

If you haven’t met the Lord Jesus Christ, I want you to know that He wants to meet you and bring you to the Father. You don’t need to do some fancy religious staff to get there. You don’t have to follow the various traditions that you may have heard from little kid. What you need to do is here, in front of your eyes: Whoever BELIEVES that Jesus is the Christ, the anointed One, is born of God! And as Romans 10:9 say:

Romans 10:9: “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

It is that definite! It is that simple! It is that generous! As we read again in Romans 10:

Romans 10:12-13: “for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."

The Lord is rich, He is generous to all that call upon Him. And all that call on the name of the Lord will be saved!

And I John 4:15: “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”

Everything turns around Jesus and everything has to do with belief in Jesus and confession out of this belief. Belief in the Lord Jesus, belief that He is the anointed one, the Christ, belief that He is the Son of God, belief that God has raised Him from the dead, confession, as a result of the belief, that He is Lord. It is not works that get somebody into the family of God. It is belief, faith. And it is not adoption that makes him part of this family but birth, birth from God, who thus becomes Abba (daddy), Father.

Moving further, we can also see this truth, the truth of the new birth, in I Peter 1:23 where we read:

I Peter 1:23: “having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever”

Again Peter here speak about a new birth, the second birth, the birth from God that we saw John speaking about. It is a birth not from corruptible seed but incorruptible and the means of this birth is through the Word of God that lives and abides forever. Romans 10:17 - just a few verses after the passage that told us that one gets saved, not by works but by confessing with his mouth the Lord Jesus and believing with His heart that God raised him from the dead - tells us how faith comes:

Romans 10:17: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Faith comes by hearing. Not hearing religious sermons on human traditions. Not hearing whatever people say that God may say. But by hearing what the Word of God says. What God Himself says. There are millions of people today that think they know what God says or thinks, either because they picture Him thinking this or because a religious person told them that He thinks this or even because their church told them this. Well, the truth of the matter is that every teaching has to be tested against the Word of God, the Bible. I grew up in Greece which is a deeply religious country. But what the people or the official church said about God – which was usually translated to a huge list of dos and don’ts that had no relationship to life – made me want to avoid any connection to Him. As a kid I was praying to Him and I felt Him close. But as the kid became teenager and got no answers to his questions, God became something between irrelevant to life and – when bad things were happening – a terrifying figure that was after me to punish me. But somehow I believed in the Bible – though I never had read it and thought that it was a sacred book only for priests and nuns. I was also searching for the truth, the meaning of life, without success. Whatever I tried, even if it succeeded left me empty. One day at the age of 21 and frustrated by the continues failures of my attempts to find meaning, I asked God to forgive me for the various foolish things I had done and the fact that I never paid real attention to Him. I also asked Him, if He existed, to find me. Less than a week later a friend of mine, without knowing something, told me that he went to a Bible fellowship and asked me to join him next time, which I did. There I saw people holding Bibles in their hand and speaking about becoming children of God, about being saved by faith, without works, about a real and personal relationship with God, about a God that was my daddy. About a God of whom I could ask and receive, seek and find. They were exposing to me an ALIVE God rather then the dead god of the human ordinances and traditions. I thought this was too good! It was also revolutionary! But is it true, I thought, especially since it seems so opposite to what the official church was saying? I decided to test it like this: if something is in the Bible I will believe it. If it is not I will not. Thus I appointed the Bible as my criterion concerning God and His will and not what the various people may say. I also said to myself I will apply the Word of God practically. I will test it. So when I read in the Bible, Jesus saying:

Matthew 7:7-11: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. "Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? "Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

When I read this do you know what I did? I started asking God! About everything. For every need I had I was asking Him for His help. And you know what? Miracles happened! God stretched His arm and reached me. Heaven opened and met me!Believing in God is not the end of a mental exercise. It is the beginning of an alive relationship with an ALIVE God. This is the God I’m speaking about. And He sent His Son Jesus Christ to bear our sins on the cross so that today whoever believes that He is the Christ, the Son of God, and God raised Him from the dead, he is saved and he becomes a child of the Almighty. Tired of God? I was tired too. But guess what? You haven’t met the real God. Because the real God is ALIVE, His Word is alive and whoever meets Him never becomes tired of Him. What you have met is the dead god of religion and yes this god cannot make anybody anything else than tired.

That’s how I became a believer. And that’s how I believe somebody becomes a believer. He has to have exposure to the true Word of God, to the good news of the gospel. Hearing is the first step. Then faith comes. Reader of this article: if you are not a believer of Jesus Christ you heard today the gospel, the good news of being saved by faith. The good news of becoming a child of God, the good news of being able to call God your daddy. The Word of God says:

James 4:8: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

Reach out to God and He will reach out to you. He loves you, He waits for you and He has a plan for you. His family has a sit for you too. The Father is waiting for you too. As I Timothy 2:4 says: “who [God] desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” And this includes you too!

Closing this part let’s go to I John 3:1-2 where we read:

I John 3:1-2: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God;”

Now we are children of God. How? By faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Messiah. This is not something that is promised for the future. It is a present reality and it is available to you now! As Paul says in II Corinthians 6:2

2 Corinthians 6:2: “For He [God] says: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

“Waiting for the placing as sons” – Romans 8:23

Returning to our original subject and having seen what I John tells us and that we are now – through faith in Jesus Christ – children of God, let’s go to Romans 8:23. There we read:

Romans 8:23: “Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption [uiothesia– placing as sons], the redemption of our body.”

It is easy to be confused when we read the above passage as it appears that Romans tells us that we are still waiting for the placing as sons while Galatians told us that Jesus Christ came so that we receivethe placing as sons and John told us that we are NOW the children of God. The key to avoid confusion in the above passage is the very word “uiothesia”. If somebody understands this word as adoption, as the English translations translate this word, then we are utterly confused. Adoption is as definite in time as birth. There is one specific time that we are born first time (it is the date and time shown in your birth certificate), there is a definite date and time that we are born second time (it is the time that you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead) and there is also a definite date and time that somebody gets adopted (it is the date and time his adopted parents sign the related papers). So if we are to translate the “uiothesia” as adoption, then this definite date and time, has – according to Romans 8 - not even come! We are then not even adopted by God because we are still waiting for this. But this misunderstanding is artificial and created by translating the word uiothesia, as adoption. The right translation is “placing as sons” and to understand its meaning here we have to look at the context, starting from verse 18:

Romans 8:18-25: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption [placing as sons], the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”

Paul referring to creation tells us that it is subjected to futility. It is under the bondage of corruption. It groans and labors with birth pangs. These are great pains! And not only the creation but also we that have the FIRSTFRUITS of the spirit! Also we, groan within ourselves, waiting for something better, the redemption of the body, the time that the Lord will come back and will change these mortal, frail bodies to immortal, incorruptible bodies like His body. We groan and wait for the time that we will see face to face. For as Paul says:

I Corinthians 13:12: For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

There is a “now” and a “then”. Now we see in a mirror but THEN face to face! Now we know in part but THEN we shall know as we are known! Now the creation groans and we groan within too but THEN it will be delivered from this bondage of corruption! Now we have the FIRST fruits of the spirit which in turn means that there will be a time, a THEN, that we will have the fullness! We are sons of God now, born of God, children of the Almighty, brothers of Jesus Christ as He himself calls us in Hebrews 2:11-12, but this is not the full placing. The full placing as sons, is when we see face to face, when we will know as we are known. So yes we are placed as sons and daughters of God now, but also yes there is still more to come on this! And yes we have the firstfruits of the spirit now but also yes it is only the FIRST fruits and therefore there is more to come. When? When the Lord comes back. When the creation is delivered, when we see face to face! When the betrothal with Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2) becomes marriage (Revelation 19).

We will close this article with Romans 8:14-17

Romans 8:12-17: “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors––not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of uiothesia [placing as sons] whereby we cry out, "Abba, Father." The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” (NKJV-KJV)

By faith we become children of God and we receive the holy spirit. By walking by this spirit, by being led by the spirit, we are children of God in manifestation. And this spirit is not a spirit of bondage but a spirit of sonship, a spirit of uiothesia, a seal by which God sealed us (Ephesians 1:13) and by which we cry out Abba (Daddy) Father! We still have to endure suffering as the whole creation does. Becoming a child of God does not mean immunization from suffering, as some would have us to believe. The Word leaves no doubt about it: not only the creation groans tells us but also we. It is however the beginning and there is more to it coming, when we will meet our Daddy, face to face. When we go to the place that the Lord is preparing for us:

John 14:2-3: “In My Father’s house are many mansions…. I go to prepare a place for you. "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

Anastasios Kioulachoglou