This is meant for those who have confessed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; and believe that He died on the cross, rose again, and is now seated at the right Hand of God the Father Almighty. (His Father, and ours.)
Those who have been re-born. Fellows who are part of the body of Christ.
It is not about salvation. That basic element is not the issue here. It concerns what happens after receiving His grace. After being regenerated. After being re-born.
My education in the church taught me that having been baptized, (as an infant) that the ritual made me a child of God. Well, I soon discovered that to be untrue, as an infant cannot make that conscious choice…to accept Jesus Christ. It must be made by a person who knows right from wrong. A decision. That decision was made by me when I was 10. (When I heard about forgiveness…well, He had me with those words.)
After that, I was taught that regular church attendance, participating in communion services, singing in the choir, teaching Sunday School, serving with the altar guild, teaching Bible School….and so on…were an end in themselves…that nothing more is required of a Christian. And so I numbly and without discernment believed what I was told of “man’s” requirements for living rightly…carrying out my weekly homage to my God…feeling most self righteous in performing all the tasks set before me…wow! What more can there be?
However, there was always something lacking. A void. A connection not being made. Oh, the bible was being read…trying to understand it with my egoistic and earthly intelligence. Found mostly words there…memorized those words…but they had no depth to them.
Now. Once we are saved: re-born; a member of the New Creature, part of the mysterious body of Christ…we are embarking on a new path. (You know…the one that is narrow, and few find it.)
God Himself has planned out that path, and we have been saved for a reason. Firstly, to glorify God. But our first role is that…we must submit totally to Him. Give over our minds, as well as our bodies. Our ego. Our inflated ego. In absolute submission to His will. We must come to the end of ourselves.
Have you done this? I had not. But only then can the Holy Spirit begin to reveal to us our part in God’s plan. He does not drag anyone kicking and screaming up that path….we must decide to go with Him. In truth. Wholly and without reservation.
Took me 70 years to come to this point. I thought I was fine. But God….(how I love those verses that begin with those two words…) decided to point out my density to me…I think it is called being “broken”… And He is an expert Breaker. (Hmmm. Louise, I think we need another level of brokeness here…you are just not getting it…you are a slow study, my dear! But then, we knew that all along, didn’t we?)
First had to throw out the adage that “God helps those who help themselves.” For, God helps those who depend on Him. A tough class to pass….and, imagine my surprise when finding that these words are NOT in the bible. Shows you what a poor Berean I was.
Giving up so-called self sufficiency was a battle, for I had a pride in that particular trait.
It had to be done. Part of emptying oneself of prideful self will. (This is still an everyday invisible battle. For Satan never gives up.) Those darts he throws are thwarted by the shield of Faith…if only that armor of God is firmly in place.
(He uses little darts of insecurity, little hints that say the bible is wrong; subtle little barbs tossed at our most vulnerable parts. In our most vulnerable times. How well he knows us.)
Personally, it seems he strikes the hardest after a perceived victory on God’s behalf…when feeling strong and powerful…aha! Here he comes! No time to relax after participating in a winning battle….no time to reflect. For…the adversary is ever alert and slick in his timing.
Now, this writing has sort of gone off course, and for that, I apologize. There is so much we need to learn, and the time is very short.
When in “religion” I did not know that there was a next step following acceptance of the free gift of grace. I was so confused about works and not “working” for salvation…never thinking that salvation was already mine….that the works spoken of, following our rebirth..are actually the signs of the union between our very being and the body of Christ. The fruits of that union.
The visual proof to unbelievers, and fellow believers as well..that we are living “the life” He has planned for us. (Even the angels are watching…)
1Pe 1:12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
Just like having children after a marriage….these fruits, or works…are the children of our spiritual union with God.
Our salvation was free. Grace….plus nothing. We did not earn it. Our faith in the unseen God deemed us eligible to receive His gift.
Only after that , are works involved. After salvation. The “work” is …of sharing love, compassion, understanding, longsuffering, loving first God, and then one’s neighbor…for in love….is all the law satisfied. A growing in His grace. Strengthening. Feeding upon His word…which is the meat that nurtures the growth.
Part of my confusion was that I was not properly dividing the Word of God, looking at all bible books as though they were directed to the “church”, to the body of Christ.
How wrong I was. Matthew…Mark, Luke and John….are written to Israel. No wonder I was misguided and twisted in my understanding….for, all scripture is there for us, for our edification and learning…but…not ALL scripture is directed to us.
Discernment demands that we ask questions when studying. To whom were the words written? When? By whom? For what reason? What went before? And so on.
Rightly dividing the word….means that we apply the words properly…understanding the dispensation for which they are meant. This is a work of the Spirit in us.
After finally giving in to the Spirit, He gently guided me to the Epistles of Paul, who is the Apostle to the Gentiles, by the COMMANDMENT of God Himself. How many denominations teach these scriptural truths?
Paul writes….to the believer.
His Epistles instruct us in how we are to approach and please God, in this dispensation of Grace, which will soon end in the Rapture.
The Rapture. The Blessed Hope.
Were you taught of the rapture? I was not. I felt so deceived when these words were opened to my understanding. That Christ will come for us..in the clouds…taking us up to be with Him forever, and so, we are kept from the wrath to come. That wrath being…the seven year Tribulation.
I cannot describe the hope and joy that filled me, after the Spirit’s revelation concerning these verses. The new knowledge…was overwhelming and I knew nothing of it while blindly following “religion.”
You can say that was my responsibility…to search out the truth. But it is written..that we learn by hearing the word. And if the teacher omits pieces of the truth…well, the student is left at a loss.
This person was not a true student at that time…she was numbly following ritual and habit and family tradition.
Please read the Epistles of Paul.
Are those books important? Well….
We are to be judged at the Bema seat by Paul’s gospel. That is how much importance God places upon those works. (This is not the White Throne Judgement that unbelievers will face.) The Bema Seat judgement is the time our acts and works on earth will be assessed…were they of value? Were they truthfully carried out for God’s glory? Or were they done in order to satisfy a personal agenda? In other words…comparable to silver, gold, or jewels that will withstand the fiery test…or, wheat and chaff…that will burn up and blow away?
Read them for yourselves. I pray that you will..and then consider whether your religion is providing truthful teachings to you…whether you are growing in Christ…as we are commanded to do. Expanding. Putting the past where it belongs, and stepping out boldly in the power of our new lives…trusting in His promises to us.
The Holy Spirit has already set up His dwelling in His earthly temple, which is…our body.
He is in the control tower, but we must give Him permission to take over and direct our take offs and landings. He is maintaining a “holding pattern” until given the go-ahead…and can become grieved if kept waiting. After all, He has a job to do, just as our “job” is to submit to Him, and begin to bring forth the fruits of our union with Him. The “works” of our faith.
“Get out of her, my people.” We have been called out. Separated from the world. Think about it. Are you being fed…being taught truth that comes only from the bible…are you producing fruit in a way that those around you know to whom you belong?
Your rewards may depend upon it.
How many tears will there be at the Bema seat…when we see all the chances we had…to earn a crown that we will ultimately give over to our Lord and Savior….the ONLY gift we can ever give Him? The reward of our earthly commitment to following His plan for us?
Prayers are with you that the Spirit will give you the discernment to make any decisions necessary, in order to become closer and more intimate with Abba, our Father…through His Son, Jesus Christ.
We will not lose our salvation, for scripture says that we are sealed by the Holy Ghost at the moment we confess our belief.
But…we can lose…our fellowship with Him. What a tremendous loss!
That fellowship brings His joy into our lives….the peace that passes all human understanding…and empowers us to do His will. To worship Him in the manner that He desires.
If we lose our fellowship with Him…we lose our ability to receive a crown of glory…(a lay-away program of sorts..) and, if a crown is earned…can you imagine that moment, when we present it to our Savior?
Maranatha….with agape love….
Verses: (These do not seem to be suggestions, but rather….commands.)
Rom 11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
Rom 15:15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,
Rom 15:16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
Rom 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
1Co 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
Ecc 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
Rom 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Rom 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
1Co 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
1Co 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
1Co 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
1Co 4:15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
1Co 4:16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
1Co 7:22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.
1Co 7:23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.
1Co 7:24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.
Louise Hudson 2013