Home Bible Study

"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 helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible might not 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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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Romans by the Book (Lesson 47)

Home Bible Study
Established November 2008

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)

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

Romans by the Book                                                                                      Lesson 47

Romans 8

1: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

I have parked on Romans 8:1 for the past two Bible lessons because of the blessed message this single verse conveys to all those who are in Christ Jesus and because  although the communication is clear often times the reader overlooks the obvious truth and fails to “take in” all that this single verse conveys to its owner.

I mentioned in the previous lesson, that some of the treasure in this chapter has to be “mined” and such is the case with this Bible verse.  You could pick up the “nugget” and move on but if you were a conscientious Bible student and chose to “dig a little deeper” right here, you’d discover the vein is richer beneath the surface. 

Let’s not forget the Apostle Paul and his writings up to this moment and remember it is the translator who put the verse numbers and division markers in Scripture and not Paul.  In the original letter, there are no breaks, chapter headings, etc.

This same man who wrote, “So, with my mind I myself serve the Law of God, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin,” now opens chapter 8, without any break, saying, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Truth is Believers are in a constant state of conflict, but not in a state of condemnation.  When the war within is raging at its hottest, the Believer is still “justified.” 

Even as the Believer struggles to hold their moral ground, when they reach the point that they must cry out to God because of the heaviness of the temptation, occasionally failing despite their best intentions, they may still lay their hand on the Word of God and say aloud, “And yet there is no condemnation to me, for I am in Christ Jesus.”

It is the person who never strives against the sin which dwells within, who is not conscious of any sin to strive against – that is the man or woman who should begin to question whether they know anything at all about the Spiritual life.
These folks may know of Jesus but they are not in Christ Jesus.  Even the demons know there is one true God.  The problem is they do not recognize Him as their Lord. 

Anyone who suffers no inward pain over outward expressions of sin may well consider themselves abiding under constant condemnation.  For these are enemies of God.

But the individual who is longing to be holy as God is Holy is justified.
The person to whom every misstep (sin) or thought of iniquity is painful, they may declare themselves to be in Christ Jesus and without condemnation.  These souls are not condemned and will not be cast out of the Body of Christ.  They are secure!
This is what the Scriptures say.

I take the time to address the topic of Eternal Salvation for these reasons:

A:  It has become obvious that a great number of professed Believers, even Bible-believing Believers, are concerned that they can lose their salvation.  These individuals often accept this view simply because they were subjected to it at some point in their lives and never took the time to carefully search the Scriptures themselves. 

Doubt has crept in… 

Be careful.  Here’s one more reason why I promote Bible study and you picking up your Bible and getting in tune with the Word of God, rightly divided.

When Jesus’ disciples asked Him what will be the sign of His coming, the first thing He told them was this, “See to it that no one misleads (deceives) you” (Matthew 24:4).

We are living in an age of confusion and deception.  Test the spirits (1 John 4:1).
Make certain what you are hearing lines up with the truth (John 18:17).

B:  Other people who have actually read their Bible have come to their conclusions by failing to see the clear teaching of God (not rightly dividing the Word of Truth) and have relied instead upon the more obscure passages of Scripture to promote their belief.

Dr. Harry A. Ironside, Bible teacher, pastor, theologian and author, addressed this issue well when he said, "If you have a clear, definite, positive Scripture, do not allow some passage that is perplexing, that is difficult of interpretation, that seems somewhat ambiguous, to keep you from believing the positive statement - He that believeth hath everlasting life.”

Dr. Harry Ironside goes on to say that salvation was like Noah inviting a pagan in his day to place his trust in God’s Word and come into the ark.  If you recall, Noah and his family members were saved in the ark.  Likewise, a Believer is saved in Christ Jesus.

Now the skeptics want you to view salvation like Noah offering to put a peg on the outside of the ark.  They are saying, “If you just hang on to the peg through the storm, you’ll be saved.”  This means salvation requires your effort and not God’s.

Your salvation is not dependent upon you holding onto God, but on you being securely held by God and in Christ Jesus. 

C:  It is necessary to address the topic of Eternal Security for the saved individual because it affects the Believer's walk with Jesus Christ and their witness to others.

Anyone who believes they can lose their salvation or lose it and regain it at a later time has removed themselves from a belief in grace through faith alone and has therefore concluded that their own works have become an essential part of the salvation process or lack thereof.  In short, they have deemed Christ’s work on the cross as being insufficient.  This is contrary to Scripture.

Titus 3

5: He saved us, not on the basis of deeds (works) which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

6: whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.

7: so that being (what) justified by (our works?  No! But by) His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

D:  Doubting our salvation is at the core of spiritual warfare and Believers have lived in fear and uncertainty for centuries questioning if heaven is really their home when this life on earth is over.  This subject has led more children of God to live defeated, depressed, and discouraged lives than any other issue in the faith. 

Doubt is a crippling force.  If Satan can plant a seed of doubt in our mind and get it to germinate, then it will breed other complex issues out of our lives such as:  discouragement, frustrations, anger, confusion, and so much more if we permit it to continue unabated.   
How powerful is the seed of doubt?  It brought about the fall of man...   

The father of lies will do everything possible, everything in his power, to get us to second-guess our security in Christ Jesus, and to doubt our salvation. 
Satan is the destroyer of everything that God loves.  This includes you if you’re a Believer.  If you’re not a Believer, Satan's not focused on you.  You already belong to him.

F:  The Anglican/Episcopal church, the Assembly of God, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Charismatic/Pentecostals, Holiness Churches, Mormons, and the Church of Christ are assemblies that believe you can lose your salvation.  This is not an exhaustive list.  Many non-denominational churches believe salvation can be lost. 

But despite what these assemblies preach the true Believer’s salvation is solely dependent on the faithfulness of God and not on the faithfulness of the Believer. 

Lamentations 3

21: This I recall to mind my mind, Therefore I have hope.

22: The LORD’s lovingkindness indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.

23: They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

We are not capable of being faithful to ourselves or to each other.  How can we in turn be faithful to the Holy God?  This is where the skeptic’s argument truly falls apart. 

God is faithful to us because of propitiation.  Propitiation is the work of Christ on the cross which deals with the integrity of God the Father (Romans 4:21-26).  It’s a big word but simply means that Jesus Christ satisfied the justice and righteousness of God the Father at the cross. 

In propitiation, the justice of God judges our sins, and the integrity of God is satisfied with that judgment.  God knew all our sins in eternity past.  He imputed them to Jesus Christ on the cross and judged them there.  Jesus took our place.  He was our substitute.

Now God is justified to forgive all those who believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son because He has been propitiated by the blood sacrifice of His perfect (sinless) Son. 

Therefore, there is no compromise to His integrity when He faithfully forgives each one of us.  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Scripture says,

John 19

30: Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, It is finished!” 
And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

God the Father has provided the perfect (complete) salvation through His Son and the security of the believer rests in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, on the continual work of the indwelt Holy Spirit, and on the intercession for the Believer by the Lord Jesus Christ. 

It is finished!  Everything God wanted to accomplish through His Son’s sacrificial death on the cross was accomplished.  There are no “hanging threads.”  Therefore, man may not add anything to or take anything away from the wondrous work of the cross.  Amen.  

Since Scripture itself is the Believer's sole authority of faith and practice and since Scripture clearly teaches that once a believer is truly saved he is eternally saved, secure, and sealed until redemption; then it will be helpful to see some of those Scripture passages.   

Predestined for salvation

The Bible teaches that Believers have been predestined, even before the creation of the world.  Theologians and others have argued over the meaning and intent of this word in Scripture for centuries.  Sometimes people overlook the obvious.  This word means that God the Father, back in eternity past (before the creation event), foreknew every soul; man, woman, and child that would accept His offer of salvation.

Romans 8

29: For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

30: and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

(See also:  Romans 9:23; 1 Corinthians 2:7, 2:9; Ephesians 1:5, 1:11, 2:10, 4:11-12).

Nowhere in Scripture does God unpredestine a Believer!

Called by God

The Bible says that Believers are called by God.  To be “called” by God is to recognize that God has a “claim” on our lives.  Now about 80 percent of the church-going people today, unless they see a burning bush before them, bristle at the idea of this call by God. 
They don’t experience God when they pray, and they don’t hear Him when they read their Bible.  How are they supposed to know what God is “calling” them to do?

Believe me, God is tugging at your heart in such a way that you know you are being led, urged, invited, “called” to serve the Body in some form or fashion and you possess the God given talent to do so.  Who’s kidding who? 

Romans 1

7: …to all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

(See also:  Romans 8:28-30; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 1-24; 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12, 4:7;
2 Thessalonians 1:11; Ephesians 1:8).

Scripture says God’s call is irrevocable (Romans 11:29).

Nowhere in Scripture is this truth reversed!

Sealed by God

The Bible says Believers are sealed by God for redemption. 
One of God’s great desires for His children is that they know they are “secure” in His love and in His power.  Think about this.  Everything else in our lives is unstable –
our health, our family, our jobs, our education, our home life, our marriage, our bank accounts, wall street, our society, and the world in which we live.  In any one of these arenas, at any given time, you may feel like you’re out on the ledge of a 40-story building, losing your balance, getting ready to fall, and there’s nothing to hold onto.

But God has “guaranteed” the inheritance of every Believer with the “seal” of the Holy Spirit as a sign of authenticity, marking our eternal oneness with Him - once sealed, always protected from the powers of evil.  It doesn’t get any more stable than that.

2 Corinthians 1

21: Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God,

22: who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.

(See also:  Ephesians 1:13, 4:30; 2 Timothy 2:19).

There isn’t a single verse in the Bible where God unseals a Believer.

(To be continued)

© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Romans by the Book (Lesson 46)

Home Bible Study
Established November 2008

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)

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

Romans by the Book                                                       Lesson 46                    

Welcome back.  If you’re a new visitor, we’ve been diligently studying the book of Romans for some time now.  We’ll remain here until we accomplish our goal of gleaning as much knowledge as possible as we travel through this wonderful book.

This is the major difference between reading your Bible and studying it.  If people would choose to study their Bible instead of just reading a piece of it here and there, I believe there would be less disorder in the Body of Christ, and we would not hear words such as “contradictions” in referencing the Bible any longer.   There are no contradictions in Scripture.  People distort God’s Word when they fail to “rightly divide” the Word of Truth.

We began our study of Romans chapter 8 in the last lesson and we didn’t get beyond the first verse.  But this is typical.  The book of Romans is like a gold mine and chapter 8 is the mother lode!  Some of the God-given treasures in this chapter are “No Duh” moments (clearly understood) and some are not.  Some have to be mined or “dug out.”
This requires a bit of effort on the part of the Bible student.  Like the forty-niner of old you have to have the resolve, and the tools to accomplish the task.

I would like to add that we could spend months in this book and not gather in all the treasure that lay before us.  But the entire Bible is put together this way.    There’s no book like the Bible.  It truly is one of a kind.  With a regular novel you read it once, maybe twice, and then you’re done with it.  For instance, I enjoyed reading, “Killing Lincoln” by Bill O’Reilly, but I only read it once and I have no idea where that book is right now.  Scripture is different.  The Bible is referred to as “The Living Word” and this because God speaks to us through it (Hebrews 4:12).

Each time I visit with this book the Holy Spirit shows me something I’d not seen before.  Proving God the Spirit is ready, willing, and able to reveal something brand new to you, if you’re willing to listen, and learn. 

For example:  I met a pastor one Sunday morning, he was 60’ish, this gentleman said he never knew Jesus Christ is the Creator God (Colossians 1:15-17).  He’d been preaching for more than thirty years and never knew this truth about his Lord and Savior.  But then there it was clear as day. 

Here’s one more:  a well known Baptist preacher and author, Dr. Charles Stanley, used to subscribe to the idea that a person could lose their salvation and this is what he preached.  But the Holy Spirit opened his heart to the truth, so he no longer holds to this idea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrhFrQJritc   Furthermore, he expounds on six doctrines of the church at stake when the Doctrine of Eternal Security is rejected in his book, “Eternal Security:  Can You Be Sure? 

You’re never too young, too old, or too educated to learn something new about Jesus.

Before I start today’s lesson I want to remind the group that it is not my intention to use this site as a means to attack or criticize anyone.  I don’t expect everyone to agree with me.   That’s their prerogative.  Truth is, people have been disagreeing about what the Bible says for centuries and I don’t expect this to change until the Lord returns. 
It is what it is…   However, this site exists to educate people and to promote the Bible as it’s written.  And in some cases to help you see what the Bible does not say.

Please open your Bible to Romans at chapter 8 and we’ll drop in at verse 1.

Romans 8

1: Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Before I move away from this verse I want people to understand that when God finished the transaction of our salvation, then we are secure, in Christ Jesus.

There are a vast amount of people in the church who do not agree with this message.
But if you’ll also consider that many people can’t agree with the wording of “separation of church and state” in our U.S. Constitution then you’ll begin to understand that people are going to be “people.”

Since this trend is growing among Christians to deny that a Believer’s salvation is secure, and this stance is harmful to the Body, I’m going to take the time to address it using the Word. 

The growing question is, “Is it true, once saved, always saved?”

The age-old question of whether or not a “true” Believer can lose their salvation after becoming “justified” by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, through faith (alone), has existed within the church almost from its beginning.  You see, during the persecution of the church in the second and third centuries many individuals who were faced with the prospect of persecution and death renounced their faith in order to live, when given the option.
Constantine’s conversion to Christianity was the turning point for the early church.
In the year 313 AD Constantine and Licinius issued the Edict of Milan legalizing Christian worship.   The Roman Empire finally tolerated Christians.  Those same people who had renounced their faith in Jesus Christ wanted to return to the church.  It was from this setting that the theological discussion arose about whether or not these folks had lost their salvation and could return to the church after they had “denied Christ” (Matthew 10:33). 

Some of the theologians believed that these people, even though they had renounced their faith, were still “justified” in the sight of God, while others concluded that while they were truly saved once, because they renounced their faith, they were no longer saved. 

Let’s focus our attention on the key word in this conversation and that is Believer.

A true Believer is an individual who has genuinely come to know and trust in Jesus Christ as his/her Savior by believing in His substitionary death, burial, and resurrection for their sins and is demonstrating a “change of heart and mind” towards God. 
In other words, Jesus Christ is the Lord of their life. 

I am not speaking of those individuals who only possess the head knowledge or who have expressed belief in Jesus Christ but they have not produced Spiritual fruit as evidence of their faith (Galatians 5:22-26). 

Mom always said, “The proof’s in the pudding.”  Now I never knew what that meant until I looked it up.  The longer version reads:  “The proof of the pudding is in the eating” and originates from the early 14th century.  It actually means, “The evidence that demonstrates a truth,” or “the exception that proves the rule.”

 It’s time to go to the book and it will produce “the exception that proves the rule.”  

John 15

1: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

2:Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit…

3:You are already clean (saved) because of the word which I have spoken to you (and in which you believed).

4: Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

This is one of the Bible passages some people have selected to refute the church doctrine of Eternal Security or “Once saved, always saved in Christ Jesus. 

Let’s examine it closely.

The vine is the source of life for the branches, and the branches must abide in the vine to live and bear fruit.  You don’t need to be a farmer or live on a farm to comprehend what Jesus is saying, “The vine is the main thing.”

As for the metaphor, Jesus, of course, is the Vine, and the branches are people.  
While it is obvious the fruit-bearing branches represent true Believers, the identity of the fruitless ones is in question.

Some say the barren branches are Christians who bear no spiritual fruit. 
Others believe they are non-Christians.  But as always, we must consider the entire Bible context for the best answer and not just borrow a verse or two while trying to make a point.

When you consider the entire Bible account, with special attention given to the characters in that night's drama, the true meaning of the metaphor is really clear. 

The 12 disciples were with Jesus.  He loved them to the uttermost (John 15:13); He had comforted them with the words in John chapter 14.  God the Father was in His thoughts, because He was thinking of the events and trials of the next day (John 17).  

But Jesus was also aware of another; someone in close proximity - the betrayer.  
Judas had been dismissed from their fellowship when he rejected Jesus' final appeal of love (John 13:10-31).  Note:  Jesus didn’t reject Judas; it was Judas who rejected Jesus.
Jesus saw the eleven and Judas through the eyes of unconditional love; (the evidence that reveals the truth) Jesus washed Judas’ feet too. 

All these people play a part in Jesus' metaphor.  The vine is Christ; the vinedresser is the Father.  The fruit-bearing branches represent the eleven and all true Believers of the church age.  The fruitless branches represent Judas and all those who never were or intended to be true Believers.  I call these “gamers.”  They’re playing a dangerous game with God.  Jesus gave His all for you!  He doesn’t want a fraction of you in return…

Jesus was aware that Judas was different then the eleven.  What does the book say?
After washing the disciples' feet, He said, "'He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you. 

Jesus knew Judas was His betrayer; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean'" (John 13:10-11).

Once a person is forgiven by God, he is clean and does not need the “bathing of forgiveness” again, metaphorically speaking.  All that is necessary to cleanse Believers of the dust and dirt (sins) they accumulate daily is the everyday “washing” of the Word (Ephesians 5:25b-27).

But Judas had not even been "bathed;" he was not a child of God, and Jesus knew it (John 10: 14).  That is why He said, "Not all of you are clean."   Jesus did not name him but Judas was aware and at this moment Judas had the opportunity to be “bathed.”

Judas appeared to be like the other disciples. They shared the same experiences. 
Judas received the same Light (of truth and its knowledge, together with the spiritual purity associated with it) as the eleven.   Judas had been accepted by Jesus and the others.  He was not out there on the “fringe.”  Judas had been trusted with the responsibility of keeping their money.  He was their treasurer.  It appeared that he was a branch in the Vine like the others but appearances can be deceiving. 

Judas may have even “professed” belief in Jesus at one time or another, although Scripture is silent on this aspect of his life (Matthew 16:13).  However, Scripture is not silent on this truth about Judas.  He never bore real fruit.  

You see professing belief is not the same as producing fruit.  The proof’s in the pudding!

What is bearing fruit?  It is “becoming more and more like Jesus (sanctification).
Spiritual fruit will show in the life of a true Believer as a change in their outlook and in their character.  As you spend more time with the Lord Jesus Christ, getting to know Him better, His thoughts and His ways will become yours.  His purpose will become yours.   
This is “bearing fruit.”

Some say Judas lost his salvation.  According to the skeptics, the same could happen to any Believer who does not bear fruit.  Evidently, one hinges on the other according to these.   

But while promoting this teaching they dismiss this statement from Jesus who said, "…and I give eternal life to them, and they will never (never means never) perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand" (John 10:28).  

Jesus also guaranteed the security of every child of God: "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out" (John 6:37)).

A branch that is truly connected to the Vine is secure and will never be removed.
That’s what the Bible says.   But one that only appears to be connected--one that has only a superficial connection--will be removed.  If it does not have the life of the Vine (the Spirit) flowing through it, it will bear no fruit.  These are the Judas-branches.

There are people who, like Judas, appear by human observation to be one with Christ.
I mean to say they “hang around with Believers.”  They may attend church, they may know the right answers, and they may go through the “religious motions;” but the truth is they are not true Believers.  The reality is they have neither accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior nor surrendered their life to Jesus Christ.   In short, He is not the Lord of their life. 

Dressing up to attend church on Sunday, saying a prayer or two when you feel the need, and occasionally talking the talk without walking the walk does not make you a Believer no more than sitting in a garage all day makes you a Chevrolet. 

The way these folks choose to live their lives reveals the real truth and not their words (Matthew 7:15-20).  Therefore, God will remove them, and they will be burned (Matthew 3:12).  In no way does this mean they lost their salvation.  Salvation is gained through faith (alone).  Can you lose something you never possessed? 

I’ll be the first to admit that I can’t tell what a person believes or if they are saved. 
I leave the salvation business to God for only God can read a person’s heart. 

But Scripture reveals any uncertainty which you may have concerning your salvation does not change God’s certainty of your salvation –

Romans 8

16: The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,

When you chose to believe the gospel (1Corinthians 15:1-4), the Holy Spirit came to live within you.  You were sealed (and confirmed) until the day of redemption. 

Unless you have been involved in the canning processes you may not be aware, but when you seal something it remains that way until the seal is broken.  The object(s) inside the Mason jar cannot break the seal themselves, it must be broken by an outside source.   
That source will be the Lord Jesus Christ on the day of redemption.  That day will be the rapture event for all true Believers, when we receive our “resurrected bodies.” 

(To be continued)

© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved