Where do I Start? Part 4

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      AvatarRebecca A.
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      Finally we come to the conclusion of this series of posts, prepare yourself for a long one(as always). So far these posts have been bringing us through a pretty good overview of the Bible as a whole. Of course there are many parts of scripture that have been left out of this questionnaire and that is simply because this is just meant to give us a starting place in studying the Bible. As I mentioned in the very first part of this series, some of these questions might seem pretty basic,(which is the point of this blog) but I would venture to guess that many people are not familiar with all of the answers. I know this because I certainly wasn’t familiar with this information growing up and even the parts I had heard or read didn’t seem to make sense because everything in the Bible was lumped together and taught to me as applicable for my life.

      Although all scripture is inspired by God and profitable for our learning,(2 Timothy3:16) we can also see that not all of scripture is applicable to all people at all times throughout the history of the Bible. If you are not convinced of this perhaps you have not read enough scripture to see the many contradictions. Do not misunderstand me however, by contradictions I do not mean to imply in any way that there are errors in the Bible. The Bible is indeed God’s perfectly inspired word put down for our learning and I believe every word contained in all 66 books!

      But as we have seen through answering these questions so far, God dealt with the nation of Israel through covenants, and promises given to their fathers along with over 613 points of the law given to Moses. Paul later exclaims that we by grace are no longer under these laws! He also explains how that gentiles in times past, “… were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world…”.(Ephesians 2:12) He goes on to say that Christ by His work on the cross has made it possible for both Jews and Gentiles(because all are unrighteous-Romans 3:9-10) to be reconciled to God by making of the two(Jew and Gentile) one new man, being placed in the new creature the Body of Christ. When we trust the gospel our old man is crucified with Christ and “he that is dead is freed from sin”(Romans6:7). “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace”(Romans 6:14). Galatians 3:13 says that, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”

      This is just one example of a contradiction in the Bible. Surely we can see there are two different instructions being given in these passages right? So, was God wrong to give the law to the Nation of Israel to obey or was Christ wrong to reveal to Paul that we are not under that very same law in the Body of Christ? The answer is, God is not wrong in either case. He meant exactly what He said, when He said it, and to whom He said it.

      At the time the law was given Israel had been saved by God out of the hand of the Egyptians and taken into the wilderness. Shortly after God told them, “5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. 7 And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him.8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do”. God was right to give the law to Israel to obey. He gave the law for multiple reasons, some of which we can see in the passage above.

      Jesus Christ was also right to reveal to Paul after that Jesus was crucified and had risen from the dead that we are not under the law when we trust the gospel of the grace of God. This was information kept secret since the world began and revealed to Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles(2 Timothy 1:11). Christ having shed His perfect, sinless blood for our sin and being buried and raising again from the dead on the third day gained victory over sin and death for us! If it is true that Christ became a curse for us, and we are crucified with Christ then our old man is dead and we are alive in Christ and made a member of His body by faith alone in His finished work on the cross. We are not under the law because we have Christ’s righteousness imputed unto us. The law was not made for the righteous man but for the unrighteous(1 Timothy 1:9).

      Look at me, I’m giving away the answers to half of the questions below already. Understanding that God has different instructions to different people at different times is important! We have to rightly divide the word of truth and identify the places where God gives instructions for the Church, the Body of Christ. If we fail to do so we will find ourselves trying to understand or perform instructions given in the past to Israel that will only hinder our growth in understanding the truth of the gospel that saves men today! The information revealed to Paul explaining this mystery kept secret up until that point is the instruction for the Body of Christ written down in his 13 epistles to the Gentiles. This blog post will cover just a small portion of the information contained in those 13 epistles. I hope you will find that the sufficiency of Christ’s work on behalf of sinners provides peace and hope to all who place their faith and trust therein. Alright, we can move on to the final section of answers to the questions concerning “A Mystery Revealed”.

      A Mystery Revealed

      To whom did God reveal the mystery of His will concerning all men without national distinction? And when did He first begin to reveal this information to him?

      -Acts 9:1-6, Romans 16:25, 1 Corinthians 2:7-10, Ephesians 3:1-9, Galatians 3:28- In Acts 9 we see that Jesus first appeared to Saul(Paul) on the road to Damascus and began to reveal information to Paul which is very different than information revealed to the fathers and prophets of Israel in times past. Jesus told Paul, “it shall be told thee what thou must do”. If we keep reading in Acts we see Jesus continuing to speak to Paul teaching him(Acts 18:9, Acts 23:11). However, what Paul was taught and what he was teaching are not always very clear in the book of Acts. To know what Paul was given from Jesus to teach we must read the epistles Paul wrote which clearly state that information. In 1 Timothy 1:16 we see that Paul was made a pattern to all those after him who would believe the Gospel unto life everlasting. Other verses which I referenced above show that what Paul was teaching was not made known to those before him, it was information that was kept secret since the world began but revealed to Paul. We find that this gospel which Paul is preaching is to all men not just a nation but all nations. In fact we see that there is no distinction between people in the Body of Christ. We are all made one through faith in Christ’s finished work.

      What is the problem that all men have and who does the Bible say brought this problem into the world?

      – Romans 3:9-10, 3:23, – Romans 5:12-19 In these verses we see that, “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”. We know this one man to be Adam back in Genesis 3. In Romans 5 we see just what Adam’s sin has provided for us(not a good provision that is for sure);vs. 18 “By the offense of one judgment came upon all to condemnation”. We are all born in Adam being in sin and deserving of death and condemnation and the wrath of God upon sinners.

      What does the apostle to the gentiles (all nations) say that the gospel is that saves all men?

      1 Corinthians 15:1-4“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved… how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures”.

      We have seen already how that all men have sinned and how sin leads to death and we are condemned before God because of sin. The gospel that Paul preaches is the good news of how God has provided salvation by Christ and the work He performed to save sinners. Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. Performing the works of the law cannot save us we need God’s righteousness. Romans 3:20-22 “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:”

      Salvation and justification(to be declared righteous) is by God’s grace and all we have to do is place our faith and trust in the work Christ accomplished for us. Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Faith is not a work. Romans 4:5, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness”. When we hear the gospel and trust it Ephesians 1:13 says that we are sealed with the holy Spirit until the redemption of the purchased possession. “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory”. We are then crucified with Christ, our old man is dead, and we made alive in Christ(Romans 6:6, Galatians 2:20-22).

      Are we saved as a result of anything we can do?Why or why not?

      -Romans 3:10,26, Ephesians 2:8-9-

      It has been established by now that no work we do can save us because all are unrighteous. By God’s grace, Faith in Christ’s work provides justification unto eternal life!

      Are we forgiven all our trespasses and sins when we trust the gospel or do we need to confess the sins we do in order to continue to receive forgiveness?

      -Ephesians 1:7, 4:32, Colossians 1:14,2:13-14- These verses very clearly state that we are forgiven of all our trespasses and sins. To continue to ask God to forgive us when we sin is to deny that which He has already provided for us.

      Is salvation something we can obtain now or is it something we receive in the future?

      This question is in contrast to the question asked in the last blog post regarding Israel’s future Salvation. We saw very clearly that they did not possess a present forgiveness of all sins because there were multiple verses talking about being forgiven in the future in their kingdom on the earth. However, all throughout Paul’s epistles we see the opposite. We Learn from Paul that we have a present possession of salvation being forgiven of all sin now(Colossians 2:13-14), receiving present atonement(Romans 5:11), we are complete in Christ(Colossians 2:10), we have peace with God through Christ (Romans5:1), we are justified through Christ’s blood and will be saved from the wrath of God(Romans 5:9), we have all spiritual blessings in Heavenly places in Christ(Ephesians 1:3). We have a present possession of Salvation, Christ’s work on the cross is sufficient to provide us with salvation now being placed in His body as a member of the Body of Christ. Christ is perfect and sinless and His righteousness is imputed to us when we place our faith in the gospel! To say that we are not saved now is to say that Christ did not or could not accomplish what is needed for our salvation. This would be completely contrary to what scripture teaches.

      If someone has trusted the gospel of Christ’s finished work on their behalf, when they die will they be in Heaven or on the earth?

      -1 Corinthians 15:42-54- 2 Corinthians 5:1-8

      I think this one is pretty self explanatory so I will just show a few of the verses. We are seated in Heavenly places in Christ, we have all spiritual blessings in Heavenly places in Christ, and we will be with Him forever in Heavenly places when we leave this earthly body!

      1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, ”For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

      Philippians 3:20-21, “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself”

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

      Ephesians 2:6, “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”

      Colossians 3:1-4, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”

      Is God Judging men today?

      -2 Corinthians 5:17-21-

      God is not judging men today, He is Offering grace and reconciliation to them through faith in Christ’s work. Christ has assuaged God’s wrath through His sinless blood sacrifice securing our present atonement and making it possible through faith to be at peace with God. Romans 5:1, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. There is a day coming where God will judge all men, but today is not that day. Praise the Lord for His grace and longsuffering that we may be reconciled to God and saved from His future wrath!

      What does the Bible say is God’s will for us today?

      -Ephesians 1:9-10, 35:17, – God has a will and being a member of the Body of Christ it is our job to know His will and take part in it. He has a will(purpose) for things in Heaven and things on the earth. God’s will is that one day all things will be gathered together in Christ(Ephesians 1:9-10). We have read a lot about God’s will for the Nation of Israel(Things in the earth), and we know that God will keep His promises to the faithful remnant of Israel in the future. But we also know that at this present time that Israel is blind in part and God is not dealing with a single nation but rather is offering salvation by grace to all men on the basis of Christ’s finished work on the cross. Those who have faith in Christ’s work are made members of His body(Things in Heaven).

      God’s will for us, His body is… 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to posses his vessel in sanctification and honour” 1 Thessalonians 5:14-22 vs. 18, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God concerning you”. 1Timothy 2:4,(God) “Who will have all men to be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth”. God’s will is simple to understand. If you are saved you have already taken part in God’s will to have all men saved! Now you should be coming to a knowledge of the truth and helping others know and understand the gospel by which they can also be saved!

      God’s will is not our will. God has made it clear what His will is, it is not something that has to do with every little decision we make in life. We should of course consider what God’s will is when we do make decisions, but He has not written out a list of things for each individual person with their name on it to know exactly what to do every second of every day. God’s will is so much bigger than your decisions of where to work, where to go to school, what car you should own, who you should marry, what you should eat for lunch… God would have you know His will by reading His word where He has told you clearly what He is doing. All we have to do is be a part what God is doing.

      1 Corinthians 11:1 “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”

      Paul was given the position by God to be the Apostle to the Gentiles(2 Timothy 1:11, 2:7). God would have you follow Paul’s example. After all, Christ is the one who made Paul the pattern of salvation, “to them which should hereafter believe unto life everlasting” (1 Timothy 1:16).

      Written by: Rebecca

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