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"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Friday, February 2, 2018

Ephesians (1:11-14) (Lesson 03)



Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

Established November 2008                                                 Published Weekly on Friday AM

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men (and women) to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  (1Timothy 2:3-4)

Ephesians (1:11-14)                                                               (Lesson 03)

Welcome to HBS.

Although we are only studying 4 verses, we have a lot of material to cover this week.  To save time I’m only going to review a few items from last week that are relevant to this discussion.  As usual, I recommend you review the prior lesson before studying this lesson for multiple reasons, but mainly because true Believers are to:  Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling (dividing) the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

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Please open your Bible at Ephesians, chapter 1:11-14

To ensure we’re all on the same page and moving forward together let’s start at verse 3.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.   In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.  In all wisdom and insight  He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him  with a view to an administration (i.e. dispensation – see KJV.  A lot of people in the church shun the word dispensation but this word is found in your Bible.   The modern Bible translations have deleted it, but that hardly changes a thing.  Here Paul refers to the 1,000 year reign of Jesus Christ on the earth) suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth, in Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.  In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:3-14).

I underlined each one of the spiritual blessings in the section above to draw your attention to them.  We’re going to look at ten specific spiritual blessings shortly.    

But first, from the time the LORD God called His people out of Egypt (they became a nation “while under the whip,” i.e. enslaved – Genesis 15:13), in the year 1500 BC, the rest of the Old Testament all the way through to Acts chapter 7, representing about 2,000 years, God is dealing primarily with His earthly people, the Jews, with some Gentile exceptions in both the O.T. and the N.T.  The Gentile city of Nineveh is one (Jonah 1:1-4, 3:1-10); the Syrophoenician Woman is another example (Matthew 15:21-28); the Greeks seeking Jesus is an exception (John 12:20-26); Jesus healing the Roman Centurion’s servant is another one (Luke 7:1-10); as is Jesus healing the Royal Official’s son (John 4:43-54).  These are all Gentile exceptions; these folks and a few others not named here were recipients of God’s mercy and grace despite the fact they were not Israelites. 

This book says Jesus Christ sent the twelve out instructing them:  “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the (whole) house of Israel.  And as you go preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 10:5-7).   Note there is no mention of Jesus dying for the sins of all and we are saved by faith in His shed blood.  This is because the gospel in this dispensation is “believe in Jesus’ name” or “believe He is the Son of God” – the Messiah (Acts 8:34-39). 

Some of the Jews believed, but the majority did not:  Jesus came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him (John 1:11).

The book of Job is the oldest book in the Bible, which means it’s older than Genesis.  Its author is unknown, but at the last he clearly understands God will set up His kingdom on the earth; not in heaven, and this is what I want y’all to see: 

“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand (where) on the earth (Job 19:25). 

So, once again, the Jews had no concept of dying and going to heaven.  You won’t find that language anywhere in the O.T.  You see the way to heaven was not opened until Jesus’ resurrection and ascension into heaven (Psalm 110:1; Acts 1:9-11).  When an O.T. Believer died they went to “Abraham’s bosom” located in the center of the earth. An unbeliever wound up in Hades (not Hell).  A great chasm divided these two sites and no one could cross from one side to the other (Luke 16:19-31). 

Abraham’s bosom and Hades were places for departed O.T. souls.  Some argue this is only a parable, but Jesus said this conversation took place, so I’ll believe Jesus. 

The Bible confirms the existence of these two places in Psalm 16:10:  For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol (Hades); Nor will you allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. 

The Apostle Peter quotes this Messianic prophecy (Psalm 16:8-11) in Acts 2:25-28 and made a direct application of verse 10 to Jesus Christ (Acts 2:31).  That Peter used Hades, the place of Sheol, in this quotation shows us not only are they one and the same but they once existed. 

Jesus Christ descended “into the lower parts of the earth” (Ephesians 4:9) to Sheol while His body lay in the grave.  There are conflicting opinions as to what Paul meant by this announcement, but I believe it is to be interpreted literally because we have the Lord’s statement supporting scripture.  While hanging on the cross He told the repentant thief He would be “with him in Paradise” that very day (Luke 23:42-43) and Paradise was not in heaven but in the bowels of the earth.   

All of the LORD God’s promises directed toward the His chosen people (the nation of Israel) were related to the earth.  But when you reach Acts chapter 9, God is doing something significantly different re: humanity.  He called Saul of Tarsus to be His Apostle to the Gentiles and this is a major dispensational change.  After Saul’s conversion, it’s all about the mystery of God’s grace, the gospel, which the risen Lord revealed to Paul and instructed him to preach to both Jew and Gentile.   

Let’s go to Galatians 1:11-12:  For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.  For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it (by men), But I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ (and where was the Lord Jesus Christ at this time?  He was at His Father’s right hand in heaven).

In the previous lesson we learned God desired that all be saved; none should suffer God’s wrath.  But it is man’s choice (not God’s) where they will spend eternity.  This book makes it clear there are only two camps in this world.  You are either a saved, child of God or you are a rebellious, enemy of God.  Now, some people think there is a third camp; I refer to these people as “fence sitters.”  They haven’t made a decision one way or the other about Jesus Christ.  But understand this; no decision is a decision where your salvation is concerned.  The other thing these “fence sitters” seem to be unaware of is Satan owns the fence they are sitting on.

In Ephesians 1:3-14 our Apostle Paul lists some spiritual blessings which God the Father has provided to every true Believer, i.e. people who have placed their faith (trust) in Christ Jesus and left it there.

Why does God lavish these wonderful blessings upon us?  He does this because He loves us (John 3:16; Romans 5:8-9).  But there’s another reason.  Paul has already informed us what it is in the opening of this letter.  He emphasized these blessings to the Believer in Christ are to the praise and glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved (1:6). 

Now I would like to explain these spiritual blessings come to us as a “package.”  When an individual believes Paul’s gospel, (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), he or she is brought into a new relationship with God the Father.  They are no longer an enemy but a son or daughter of God.  In essence this means true Believers now stand in an unending stream of God’s Grace from which all blessings flow.  Even though we can’t see these spiritual blessings from God, the Scriptures declare what God has to say about them for those who have placed their faith in Christ - believe! 

Lets’ all turn to Hebrews 11, the great faith chapter so you can see for yourself what this book says.  Please note as you read the chapter there aren’t any fence-sitters in this group.  A fence-sitter weighs what God said against their personal beliefs and opinions.  But God’s ways are not man’s ways (Isaiah 55:8). The path to victory in these people’s lives was in every instance through faith.  My definition of faith is:  God said it and I believe it; over and out.  Hebrews 11 shows God requires us to exercise our faith in Him and His Word.  This is a biblical absolute (Hebrews 11:6). 

Now let’s turn to Ephesians 1:11a.

Also we have obtained an inheritance (1:11a) - when something cannot possibly fail to occur, you may hear this familiar expression:  You can take that to the bank!”  This expression didn’t originate with us its roots are in ancient Greece.  When something future was so certain to take place it could not possibly fail to happen, the Greeks would often speak of it as if it had already occurred.  This phrase from Paul is just one example.  We’re going to see it again when we reach Ephesians 2:6 where he writes:  and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus… You don’t need me to inform you we haven’t experienced this glorious event yet.  But Paul’s point is the Ephesians’ dwelling eternally with the Lord was just as certain as if they had already changed addresses.   Paul means to say this inheritance we’ve obtained through faith in Christ isn’t out there in the future waiting to be realized, it’s ours now. 

I want y’all to understand every true Believer will inherit the promise God made to Abraham:  For this reason it is by faith, in order that it (in this instance we’re talking about justification and inheritance) may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law (the Jews), but also to those who are of the faith (specifically speaking of the Gentiles in the Age of Grace) of Abraham, who is the father of us all, (as it is written, “A father of many nations have I made you”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist (Romans 4:16-17).

I pointed out previously, we use this entire book, we don’t ignore any part of it, because All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).  In Genesis 13:15 for example, we learned the promises were made to Abram and to his offspring; this includes us Gentiles. 

Our Apostle Paul explains the use of the word “offspring” to us in this way:  Now the promises (plural) were spoken to Abraham and to his seed (descendants).  He does not say “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is Christ. 

Paul means to say God’s promises to Abraham involved Jesus Christ; they were meant to point to the Redeemer which is Christ, and they were made for Him.  If you are a true Believer, this means many of the promises God made with Abraham and Christ also apply to you because you are in Christ Jesus. 

Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.  Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.  The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.”  So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the Believer (Galatians 3:6-9).

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  For all of you who were baptized into Christ (by the Spirit of God; no water involved) have clothed yourselves with Christ (Galatians 3:26-27).

And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3:29).

We are Abraham’s descendants according to the promise, by faith (alone), but our inheritance is in Christ Jesus.  God is the source and the Lord Jesus Christ is the Mediator through whom they come (1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 1:3; 1Timothy 2:5).
For all those who are willing to place their trust (faith) in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, God has provided spiritual blessings.  Most Christians only think of God’s Grace as a blessing.  But we’ve inherited so much more. 

Below is a list of some of these marvelous blessings in Christ: 

Eternal life
Forgiveness of sins
Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
Joint-heirs
Justification
Reconciliation
Redemption
Regeneration
Resurrection
Sonship

Eternal Life

People have been searching for “the fountain of youth” for centuries.  Billions of dollars are spent each year in people’s attempt to remain looking youthful, but everyone dies.
Rigorous exercise, opting to swallow pills, or electing to undergo plastic surgery doesn’t alter the fact death is our greatest enemy.  Most people do not wish to contemplate death.  We all cling to life.  This is because God created man to live in an eternal relationship with Him, but sin destroyed this relationship.  It resulted in our spiritual death.   We also have an appointment we must keep with physical death.  Sin created a great chasm between us and God.  When we put our trust in Christ, God imputes His own life to us. This life is eternal.  One of the great themes of the Apostle John is life.  Characteristic of John is that he sets forth powerful, profound truths with simple language.  He recorded these words of our Savior in his gospel,

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:14-16).

John affirmed Jesus’ statement in his letter:  And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.  These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:11-13).

Most people believe eternal life is something we obtain once we die.  But the Bible says eternal life exists in the Believer the moment they believe.  Look again at what John wrote, “we have the life” not “will have the life.”  Eternal life begins the moment one puts his trust in Christ.  And how long does eternal life last?  It lasts as long as God exists and God has always existed! 

Forgiveness

God has forgiven the sins of the Believer in Christ.  Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:7:  “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace…”

Paul has written a parallel statement in Colossians 1:13-14:  For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Later in this same letter, Paul wrote:  When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross (Colossians 2:13-14).  

Forgiveness of all our sins for the Believer in Christ is something realized here and now.  It is not something in the future that we hope for.  God has forgiven us our sins (past tense). No Believer in Christ should ever ask God to forgive him; He already has.  All we should do is give thanks to God continually for His many blessings, i.e. forgiveness being one of many (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

People will argue Jesus’ did not die for all our sin, past, present, and future on the cross. 
But Paul states clearly in Colossians 2:13-14 Jesus died for all our sins and we have been forgiven.  The Koine Greek word all in this passage is (Pas).  It means each, every, any, all, the whole, all things, everything.  Jesus died on the cross paying the penalty for all our sins.    

Indwelling of the Holy Spirit

When we put our trust in Christ, we are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ, God’s one Church.  Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:13:  “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.”

This baptism is a spiritual baptism (no water, please).   God identifies us with Christ, meaning:  we are “in Christ.”  We are part of His body, the Church.  This blessing is unique to Believers beginning with Paul’s ministry.  Nothing in the Old Testament even suggests such a relationship.

Paul also wrote, And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ (Galatians 4:6). 

And in Ephesians, Paul wrote:   In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge (down payment) of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:13-14). 

The Holy Spirit given to the Believer in Christ is God’s “pledge” or “down payment” of his inheritance (2 Corinthians 1:22, 5:5).  The Holy Spirit is God’s “earnest money,” borrowing an O.T. term, for our future blessing as joint-heirs of Christ (Romans 8:17).

Joint-Heirs

Jesus is the Son of God.  When a person believes in Him he or she becomes God’s adopted child.  Furthermore, they are joint-heirs of Christ.  One day, God the Father will sum up all things in Christ.  He will give to His Son all there is to give.  We learn about this from our Apostle Paul who wrote that we are joint-heirs with Christ. This blessing is truly beyond our comprehension.

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”  The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him (Romans 8:15-17).

Peter wrote the same thing in 1 Peter 1:3-5:  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Justification

The Believer in Christ is declared by the Scriptures to be justified.  Justification is a legal term in which the Believer in Christ is declared righteous.  More than a declaration of “Not guilty,” the Believer in Christ is declared right before God, as if he or she had never sinned.  God imputes His own righteousness to the one who accepts the work of Jesus on his behalf.  God justifies the Believer in Christ on the basis of faith, not works.  

Paul wrote in Romans 3:21-24:  But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

Justification is an act of grace by God.  It is a gift.  You can’t work for it and you can’t earn it.  It is free courtesy of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He picked up the sin-tab for us all.
Paul wrote in Romans 5:1:  “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace (no more conflict) with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Justification results in peace with God.  Peace with God is a blessing in which the Believer can rest.  The fear of God’s wrath is removed.  Fear of death or judgment is eliminated.  We can rest, knowing that God has nothing against us.  

In Colossians 2:13-14 Paul had this to say:  When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Everything God had against us was paid for by the death and resurrection of Christ.  To the one who trusts in the work of Christ on his behalf for salvation, who believes the gospel God says, “You have been imputed with the righteous of Christ” (Romans 5:9; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 2:20). 

Reconciliation

Reconciliation is the Church Doctrine that declares the estrangement between God and man due to sin has ended due to the death and resurrection of Christ.  The Believer in Christ has taken full advantage of this arrangement.

Paul explained this in Romans 5:10-11:  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.  And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation (this isn’t a future experience.  It’s ours now). 

And again, Paul wrote:  For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven (Colossians 1:19-20). 

And finally, Paul gave this word in 2 Corinthians 5:17-19:  Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Redemption

To redeem means to buy back something that used to belong to the purchaser but for some reason had lost it.  The Scriptures tell us that we were redeemed by Christ.

In Colossians 1:13-14, Paul wrote:  For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

And Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:18-19:  knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

The biblical picture of redemption is that of redeeming or ransoming us out of the slavery of sin and death.  The agora was the Greek word for the market.  It was where business was transacted.  Today, we all go to the mall, full of shops, banks, etc. to transact our business.  One of the commodities in the ancient market was slaves.  The Greek word means to buy out from the market and the biblical picture is one of buying slaves out of the slave market of sin (Galatians 3:13, 4:5; Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5). 

Apart from Christ, we were helpless and without hope, trapped in Satan’s slave market, unless someone, qualified, could buy us out.   A slave cannot buy himself out of the slave market.  He has no means.  But Christ had the means.  He was not in the slave market for He was sinless.  The price of our redemption was His own blood. 

Jesus taught the concept of being slaves to sin.  In John 8:31-36, He spoke to the Jews saying:  So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”  They answered Him,We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”  Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever.  So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

Redemption is a wonderful gift.  It is an act of grace by God.  It can neither be earned nor worked for.  It can only be accepted or refused.

Regeneration

Regeneration means a new birth.  Everyone is born once–physically with a sin nature.  The Scriptures teach us that we need to experience a new birth in order to have a relationship with God.  Jesus in his conversation with Nicodemus said:  “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again (or from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

Nicodemus did not understand what this new birth was.  Jesus elaborated on His statement.  Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into 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 be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’  The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:5-8).

Why is a new birth necessary?  We all enter this world spiritually dead to God.  Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:22:  In Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.

Paul explained this concept in Romans 5:12-21.  When Adam disobeyed God and sinned, we all sinned for Adam was the federal head of the human race (we were “in Adam”).  We all inherit the sinful nature of our federal father Adam.  God warned the man (Genesis 2:16-17) on the day he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil “he would die.  The man did not die right then, but he died spiritually the instant he ate of the tree.  He died literally in his old age at 930 years.  As a result, his relationship with God was broken.  He came to fear God.  The relationship of joy and peace was replaced by fear and guilt.  It is the same for us.  We enter the world spiritually dead and eventually die physically.  When we believe in Christ, we are regenerated.  We receive a new spiritual life and eternal life.

John wrote to have Christ is to have this life.  Not to have Christ is death:  He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life (1 John 5:12).

To the Ephesians, Paul wrote:  And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.  Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.  But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2:1-5).

To the Colossians Paul wrote:  When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions (Colossians 2:13).

God gives us eternal life, when we believe Paul’s gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

Resurrection

The Scriptures declare that we have the hope, i.e. the expectation of resurrection of our bodies.  The resurrection is central to our faith and to the Gospel.  Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ our faith is dead.  Without the resurrection we have no hope.  Thus, we look forward to the day of Christ’s return at the Rapture; it is at that time we will receive new, immortal bodies.  These bodies will be fit for heaven and eternity.  Our mortal bodies exist only briefly.  They are corrupted by sin and eventually experience death.  Above we saw the consequence of the man’s disobedience of God’s command about eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  All of us have all been infected with his sin and suffer the consequence:  first the physical death and then the second death after the Great White Throne Judgment, which is eternal separation from God and recipients of His Righteous Wrath. 

The resurrection is the “proof” of our faith. The resurrection of Christ was the event that changed the disciples of Christ.  At his crucifixion they fled.  When He appeared to them, alive, raised from the dead, they were revitalized.  They became bold as lions and proclaimed that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah.  The resurrected Christ also appeared to the Apostle Paul.  He had been a zealous enemy of the Way (as it was known then) of those who believed in Christ as the Messiah.  But when Christ appeared to him, alive, on the road to Damascus, God changed Paul’s life forever.  As violent an enemy of Christ as he had been, he became His devoted follower and obedient servant.  

Here are Paul’s powerful words regarding resurrection:  Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.  Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.  For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.   But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.  For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.  But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.  For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.  The last enemy that will be abolished is death.  For He has put all things in subjection under His feet.  But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.  When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all (1 Corinthians 15:12-28).

Here Paul describes the nature and mechanics of resurrection:  But someone will say, “How are the dead raised?  And with what kind of body do they come?”  You fool!  That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else.  But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.  All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish.  There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another.  There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.  So also is the resurrection of the dead.  It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.  If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.  So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.  However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.  The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.  As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy (worldly); and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.   Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.  Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.  Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.  But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.   O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:35-58).

Sonship (Adoption)

Closely allied with regeneration is the Doctrine of Sonship.  Once regenerated the Believer becomes a child of God.  The Apostle John wrote:  He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, and not in Jesus death, burial and resurrection; there’s the difference (John 1:11-12).

Paul wrote the Galatians in 3:26:  For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.   For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

And again in Galatians 4:4-7:  But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

The relationship of children of God is one which God has predestined; back in eternity past.  Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:5:  “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will…”

God has elected His children.  We exercise our wills by making a choice and believe. But God in His sovereign, omniscient wisdom made a choice also.  Such a choice provides the Believer in Christ security; once a son, always a son.  Once established, the relationship of being “in Christ” is unbreakable.  Jesus illustrated this fact with relation to Jewish Believers in the parable of the sheep and the good shepherd: 

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand (John 10:27-28).

(To be continued)

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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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