Ex. 17:14 π Ex. 24:12 π Ex. 31:18 π Ex. 32:16 π Lev. 24:22 π Dt. 24:16 π Jdgs. 21:25 π 2 Ki. 14:6 π Psa. 51:1-17 π Psa. 51:5 π Psa. 89:11 π Psa. 138:2 π Eccl. 12:13-14 π Isa. 41:4 π Isa. 61:1-2 π Jer. 31:3 π Jer. 31:29-31 π Ezek. 18:1-32 π Ezek. 18:30 π Ezek. 28:11-19 π Mal. 3:6 π Mt. 3:2 π Mt. 4:17; 2nd π Mt. 11:29-30 π Mt. 16:24 π Mt. 28:18-20 π Mk. 1:8 π Mk. 8:34 π Mt. 10:24-25; 2nd π Lk. 3:38 π Lk. 4:5-7 π Lk. 4:21 π Lk. 4:34 π Lk. 5:32 π Lk. 9:23 π Lk. 11:2 π Lk. 14:27 π Lk. 14:33 π Lk. 17:21 π Jn. 3:3 π Jn. 3:5-6 π Jn. 8:31 π Jn. 12:31 π Jn. 14:15-18 π Jn. 14:21 π Jn. 14:23 π Jn. 14:24 π Jn. 14:26 π Jn. 14:30 π Jn. 15:10 π Jn. 15:26-27 π Jn. 16:8 π Jn. 16:11 π Jn. 16:13; 2nd π Jn. 16:15 π Jn. 18:36 π Acts 2:38-39 π Acts 2:40-42 π Acts 3:4 π Acts 4:12 π Acts 5:32 π Acts 8:12 π Acts 10:1-6 π Acts 11:13-14 π Acts 11:18; 2nd π Acts 17:30-31 π Acts 20:21 π Acts 28:31 π Rom. 2:11-16 π Rom. 3:20-22 π Rom. 5:12-13 π Rom. 6:2-11 π Rom. 6:23 π Rom. 7:7-11 π Rom. 8:2 π Rom. 8:2-4 π Rom. 8:11 π Rom. 8:14 π Rom. 8:26 π Rom. 8:28-30 π Rom. 10:4-5 π Rom. 10:9 π Rom. 10:9-10 π Rom. 14:17 π 1 Cor. 12:4 π 1 Cor. 12:7-11 π 1 Cor. 12:12-13 π 2 Cor. 1:22 π 2 Cor. 5:17 π 2 Cor. 6:14-18 π Gal. 3:10-13 π Gal. 3:19 π Gal. 3:21-27 π Eph. 3:14-19 π Eph. 4:11-15 π Eph. 5:5 π Phlp. 1:6 π Phlp. 2:5-8 π Col. 2:11-14 π 1 Ths. 4:16-17 π 2 Tim. 3:12 π Heb. 5:9 π Heb. 6:4-6 π Heb. 6:7-8 π Heb. 7:11-12 π Heb. 7:18-19 π Heb. 10:14 π Heb. 10:26 π Heb. 10:29-31 π Heb. 12:1-2 π Heb. 12:14 π 1 Pet. 3:21 π 2 Pet. 1:10-11 π 2 Pet. 1:11 π 1 Jn. 3:4 π 1 Jn. 4:16 π 1 Jn. 5:3 π Jude 20 π Rev. 4:8 π Rev. 19:13 π Rev. 20:2 π Rev. 20:10 π Rev. 21:2-3(all quotations from NKJV)
We claim ourselves Christians; yet we are all so different in our beliefs.
We all say Jesus is ‘my saviour,’ yet our awareness and assumptions of Him are varied.
Yet we believe there to be only one God.
Now God has to be unchanging. If not, how do each and every one of us have the same knowledge of God today tomorrow and beyond - if God keeps changing? And further, how would He communicate with everyone of us His current status - if God keeps changing?
We have not seen God, but if God is true then how do we get the proper knowledge of God? Now God being one, and He being unchanging, and He not being seen, and yet this God insisting that we worship Him, and that too ‘in spirit and in truth,’ definitely requires the need of unchangeable and accessible laid down criteria.
For this we have His word given to us - the Bible.
God being in heaven and, there being a ‘hell’ and a ‘lake of fire’ for those who do not keep themselves within the parameters set by God, it is of utmost importance that each and everyone of us take responsibility for ourselves, that we are in the God-appointed path to reach heaven. This responsibility is not something that may be entrusted to another, there just not being a second chance!
Each of us need to peruse the Bible, for, that’s all we have to know of God. The question would be: why the Bible?
The first noting in the Bible is by Moses; it was that God would blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.
Exodus 17:14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” (top)
But when it came to the matter of law for the Israelites to observe throughout their generations, it was not Moses, but God Himself who wrote the foundational ordinances on stone tablets. God Himself prepared the tablets, and Himself wrote, with His own fingers He wrote on those tablets so that no one amongst the people of Israel would question the giver of the law.
Exodus 24:12 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.”
Exodus 31:18 And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.
Exodus 32:16 Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God engraved on the tablets. (top)
Here, further on, we shall go through the Bible to get a basic awareness of what God intents of us.
God has a kingdom, and we understand that His kingdom is the kingdom of Jesus Christ, His one and only Son.
John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world.
Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.
Acts 28:31 …preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.
2 Peter 1:11 …for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (top)
Now, this kingdom is not of this world. And, no one is a citizen of this kingdom by birth; rather, this citizenship is acquired: personally. Secondly, this is by invitation only, and only sinners are invited to acquire this citizenship.
Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Luke 5:32 I have not come to call, the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (top)
Which also shows that anyone who considers himself righteous has no part with nor need of Christ; he is outside of the kingdom of Christ. Acceptance of this invitation is by joining Jesus Christ-
Peter said, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” ( Acts 4:12 He was speaking of Christ Jesus.
The goal of Jesus-
Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
1 John 3:4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.
And the manifestation of this lawlessness-
Judges 21:25 … everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (were not bothered of God nor His holiness nor His word)
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (top)
‘Kingdom of God’ is synonymous with the ‘kingdom of heaven.’
God is the ‘Father in Heaven.’
Luke 11:2 So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven … Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as in heaven.”
Psalm 89:11 “the heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; the world and all its fullness You founded them. (top)
Though the earth is God’s, His will is not being executed on the earth, unlike in heaven. The world currently has another ruler:
Luke 4:5-7 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”
John 14:30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing to do with me. (top)
Yet the kingdom of God is present on this earth.
Luke 17:21 … for indeed the kingdom of God is within you
Romans 14:17 …kingdom of God is righteous peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (top)
But Jesus came to take, in righteous and justice, the earth back from its current ruler.
John 12:31 now is the judgment, now the ruler of the world will be cast out.
John 16:11 …because the ruler of this world is judged.
Revelation 20:2 , 10 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years … The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (top)
The kingdom of God is the kingdom of Christ.
Ephesians 5:5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
2 Peter 1:10-11 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
John 16:15 All things that the Father has are Mine… (top)
So God announced that he would again call the people to Him.
Isaiah 61:1-2 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Lordhas anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the broken hearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
(this was his work, Jesus said: Luke 4:21 And He began to say to them, Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. (top)
So the gospel, the good tidings-
John the Baptist in Matthew 3:2 came saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!
Jesus in Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Peter in Acts 2:38-39 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
Paul in Acts 17:30-31 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
Also in Acts 20:21 testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (top)
So ‘repentance’ is the key word.
Now the issue is- who is the one who has to repent?
2 Kings 14:6 But the children of the murderers he did not execute, according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, in which the Lord commanded, saying, “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers; but a person shall be put to death for his own sin.” (as in Deuteronomy 24:16 ) (top)
Yet, Israel thought that children are punished with death for the sins of fathers.
Jeremiah 31:29-31 In those days they shall say no more: ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge.’ But every one shall die for his own iniquity; every man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge. Behold, the days are coming, says the
Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.” (the promise of the new covenant).
Ezekiel 18:1-32 The word of the
Lordcame to me again, saying, 2 “What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying:
‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
And the children’s teeth are set on edge’?
3 “As I live,” says the Lord
God, “you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel.
4 “Behold, all souls are Mine;
The soul of the father
As well as the soul of the son is Mine;
The soul who sins shall die.
5 But if a man is just
And does what is lawful and right;
6 If he has not eaten on the mountains,
Nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel,
Nor defiled his neighbor’s wife,
Nor approached a woman during her impurity;
7 If he has not oppressed anyone,
But has restored to the debtor his pledge;
Has robbed no one by violence,
But has given his bread to the hungry
And covered the naked with clothing;
8 If he has not exacted usury
Nor taken any increase,
But has withdrawn his hand from iniquity
And executed true judgment between man and man;
9 If he has walked in My statutes
And kept My judgments faithfully—
He is just;
He shall surely live!”
Says the Lord
10 “If he begets a son who is a robber
Or a shedder of blood,
Who does any of these things
11 And does none of those duties,
But has eaten on the mountains
Or defiled his neighbor’s wife;
12 If he has oppressed the poor and needy,
Robbed by violence,
Not restored the pledge,
Lifted his eyes to the idols,
Or committed abomination;
13 If he has exacted usury
Or taken increase—
Shall he then live?
He shall not live!
If he has done any of these abominations,
He shall surely die;
His blood shall be upon him.
14 “If, however, he begets a son
Who sees all the sins which his father has done,
And considers but does not do likewise;
15 Who has not eaten on the mountains,
Nor lifted his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel,
Nor defiled his neighbor’s wife;
16 Has not oppressed anyone,
Nor withheld a pledge,
Nor robbed by violence,
But has given his bread to the hungry
And covered the naked with clothing;
17 Who has withdrawn his hand from the poor
And not received usury or increase,
But has executed My judgments
And walked in My statutes—
He shall not die for the iniquity of his father;
He shall surely live!
18 “As for his father,
Because he cruelly oppressed,
Robbed his brother by violence,
And did what is not good among his people,
Behold, he shall die for his iniquity.
19 “Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not bear the guilt of the father?’ Because the son has done what is lawful and right, and has kept all My statutes and observed them, he shall surely live. 20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
21 “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live. 23 Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord
God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?
24 “But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.
25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair? 26 When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies. 27 Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive. 28 Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 29 Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?
30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord
God. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!” (top)
In Psalm 51 David humbles himself when confronted by the prophet on the issue of Bathsheba and the murder of her husband. He acknowledges, repents and prays for forgiveness and restoration.
Psalm 51:1-17 Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
4 Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
9 Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
1717 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.
Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. (top)
Here he just acknowledges that there is nothing exceptional of his conception, but rather he was conceived in the womb of a sinner, and given birth to by that very same lady; nothing strange in his transgression considering his origin.
In Ezekiel 18:30 again God is calling to repentance.
Acts 11:18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.” (top)
So the key to life is repentance.
How to identify sin?
Romans 5:12-13 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.)
Romans 7:7-11 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” …For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. (top)
So sin is accounted as such only in the awareness of the law.
What about people who have not heard of the God called Jehovah, nor the Law of Moses, nor Christ and His atoning sacrifice?
Romans 2:11-16 For there is no partiality with God. 12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel. (top)
Again, ‘for there is no partiality with God.’ Salvation is an issue of life and death for eternity. That being so and God being just and righteous, would it be proper for Him to keep two standards for salvation: one for those born into Christian families (where salvation is the privilege- the ‘just-born’ become Christian by the privilege of birth, or undergo a baptism soon after without their thought nor approval!) and another for those born into non-Christian families/ parents/ individuals?
No, God can have only one standard, especially on this, the most serious issue of salvation: any individual, irrespective of the status of faith of parent/s or society he is in, has to, of his own volition repent for the forgiveness if transgression has been committed by him.
Leviticus 24:22 ‘You shall have the same law for the stranger and for one from your own country; for I am the Lord your God.’ (top)
How would it be proper of God to demand impartiality of the judges of Israel while not holding to the same standards Himself!
To the one who repents is the baptism to be born-again.
John 3:3 , 5-6 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God… Jesus answered…, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (top)
‘Born of the Spirit’ is the work of resurrected Jesus Christ (said by John the Baptist- Mark 1:8 I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit (top), but to be ‘born of water’ is for the one who repents, baptised by one who was born-again before him.
What is water baptism?
Romans 10:9-10 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (top)
Rip this verse out of the context of the rest of the New Testament and all you need is confession and belief for salvation!
Matthew 10:24-25 A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master.
Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. ( Mark 8:34 and Luke 14:27 )
Luke 14:33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
John 8:31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.’ (top)
So a disciple of Jesus has to be subservient to Him, has to deny himself, has to forsake all that he has and then to live in the word of Jesus, accepting Him to be his Lord. This just means obedience to Jesus Christ. So then the ‘that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.’ in Romans 10:9 is elaborated in Hebrew 5:9 ‘…He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.’ (top)
Without accepting that Jesus came and lived as a man, He took up our sins on Himself and died on the cross an atoning sacrifice, and God the Father resurrected Him from the dead, there is no provision for the forgiveness of sins as per the Bible. So also, what is the point of confessing Jesus Lord if He has not resurrected and is not alive?
So here we come to the need of baptism following repentance:
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Romans 6:2-11 … How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:2-4 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Romans 10:4-5 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.”
Galatians 3:10-13 , 19 , 21-27 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)… 19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator…. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Colossians 2:11-14 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
Romans 3:20-22 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.
Hebrews 7:11-12 , 18-19 Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law… For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. (top)
‘Baptism,’ is the Greek word for the plain and simple English word ‘immersion.’
So in baptism or immersion the one who repented to life ( Acts 11:18 )
- joins Christ.
- is made alive in Christ.
- in Christ fulfils the righteous requirement of the law.
- is freed from the law of sin and death.
- is no more a slave to sin.
- dies to the Law which made nothing perfect because of its weakness.
- gets freed from the curse of the law.
- is no more under the law of Moses and prophets.
- trespasses are totally forgiven.
- is counted righteous by God, by reason of faith, not works.
- is a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
- has a good conscience towards God. 1 Peter 3:21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (…but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ… (top)
By baptism one becomes a son of God: what further?
Now is the baptism in the Holy Spirit by Jesus Christ.
The first disciples waited for it before embarking to the next phase of their life as disciples. Also reading the book of Acts, baptism in the Holy Spirit is not synonymous with baptism in water, but rather a separate distinct act of God, reserved exclusively for those who obey Him.
Acts 5:32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him. (top)
The book of Acts revels the baptism in Holy Spirit to be accompanied by visible manifestations of other tongues and in one instance prophecy.
Why is the Holy Spirit given?
- He is the comforter/ helper for every son of God in the place of resurrected Christ. “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth … I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” ( John 14:15-18 )
- Teaches and reminds. John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
- Bear witness of Christ along with the disciples. John 15:26-27 But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
- John 16:8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.
- John 16:13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak.
- John 16:13 He will tell you things to come.
- Seal and guarantee. 2 Corinthians 1:22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
- Intercedes. Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
- Various gifts for edification of the body of Christ and self. 1 Corinthians 12:4 , 7-11 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit…. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
- Praying. Jude 1:20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit…
- Baptised into one body. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
- To be caught up to the clouds at the coming of Christ to gather His saints. Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.(top)
Above was mentioned that a person baptised is the son of God. But then, the criteria to be a son of God becomes more specific:
Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (top)
So, if a person who repented and joined Christ, later does not stay in/ follow the teachings of Christ, then:
Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
Hebrews 10:26 , 29-31 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins… 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The
Lordwill judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (top)
The intent of God in all this work of salvation:
Revelation 21:2-3 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. (top)
He wants to be in the midst of the people who love Him.
Jeremiah 31:3 The
Lordhas appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you. (top)
Why all these issues of sin, repentance, baptism, salvation….
God is holy.
Revelation 4:8 The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”
Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord
Romans 8:28-30 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (top)
God being holy, with sin no one can approach Him. So God is in the process of sanctifying those who desire and love Him. The standard of holiness He has kept to be followed is His only begotten son Jesus Christ. By His spirit in His children, He is in the process of transforming the willing, an ongoing process as stated in
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. (top)
And the character of Jesus:
Luke 4:34 saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God! (top)
The standard of Christian life-
The standard God has kept for reference is Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 12:1-2 …let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (top)
And the standard that Jesus Christ revealed is
Philippians 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (top)
The standard is not attained at one go, but by an ongoing process to the one willing to cooperate with the sanctifying work of God.
Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. (top)
The obstacle to live a Christian life-
Matthew 11:29-30 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Matthew 10:24-25 A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. (top)
The master and teacher Jesus, is gentle and lowly. So, without that lowliness and gentleness of heart one cannot submit to the yoke of Christ, nor learn from Him, because without that character it becomes impossible to deny oneself.
The price in following Christ-
One becomes separated, different from all who are not of Christ.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them And walk among them.
I will be their God, And they shall be My people.”
“Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”
“I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.”
Acts 2:40-42 , 3:4 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized… 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers…. 4 Now all who believed were together... (top)
So the believers are to worship and fellowship with other believers- all who continue in the apostolic doctrine and the Spirit of Christ.
No more ambitions and desires.
Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. (top)
2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. (top)
The Bible is a book of blessings. But is it only blessings? When God does His wondrous work in His dear ones does He have an expectation?
Hebrews 6:7-8 For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned. (top)
Why all this fuss; why not just believe in Jesus Christ and live a reasonably good life?
Acts 10:1-6 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!”
And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?”
So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do. (top)
Peter reporting back to the assembly at Jerusalem:
Acts 11:13-14 And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, ‘Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.’ (top)
Here the Bible itself acknowledges Cornelius to be a truly godly man with his whole household. The angel of God himself acknowledges that the righteous acts of Cornelius were pleasing to God Almighty. Yet, in the sight of God those righteous deeds were not enough for Cornelius to be saved. Despite his godly life Cornelius had to follow God’s ordained path of salvation through Jesus Christ. Or rather, God is not willing to bypass the parameters for salvation He Himself has set.
Psalm 138:2 …For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
God having magnified His word above His name, not sticking to that word diminishes it’s glory; the first person having to honour the word being God Himself. Also Jesus Himself has the name ‘The Word of God,’ to whom is all authority in heaven and on earth.
Revelation 19:13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.
To conclude: the advice of King Solomon:
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.
Beloved of God: may Jesus Christ bless you abundantly:
Our God is an unchanging God.
This makes issues a lot simpler.
Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
Isaiah 41:4 ‘I, the Lord, am the first; And with the last I am He.’
People, their culture and their views change with time and over generations. But, that is not so with God. Because of His constancy His language too doesn’t change. What He says has the same meaning from the start to the end of time.
God is love.
1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
And He defines love for God as-
John 14:21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
John 14:24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.
John 15:10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
Now, God has a family that spans heaven and earth.
Ephesians 3:14-19 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
God made Adam to be counted in His family ( Luke 3:38 the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.) and left to him the provision of choice; to continue with God or not. Rather, we see that God doesn’t force love, but insists on His definition of love being satisfied by those who choose to be with Him. God separated Abraham for Himself and made him into a nation of His very own people; but a good number of them chose to ignore God.
Satan too was in the family of God but was cast out when he chose to go against the holiness of God.
We see it in the metaphor of him being presented as the king of Tyre.
Ezekiel 28:11-19 Moreover the word of the
Lord came to me, saying, 12 “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God:
“You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created.
14 “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you.
16 “By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones.
17 “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you. 18 “You defiled your sanctuaries By the multitude of your iniquities, By the iniquity of your trading; Therefore I brought fire from your midst; It devoured you, And I turned you to ashes upon the earth In the sight of all who saw you. 19 All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; you have become a horror, And shall be no more forever.”
In Christ now, it no more is by lineage; coming into the family of God, but rather by personal faith in Christ. And as mentioned in Ephesians above, ‘may be able to comprehend with all the saints,’ requires the children of God having the same knowledge of Christ.
Ephesians 4:11-15 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ
God, He being the Father, He having fathered each and every child in His family which extends heavens and the earth, requires unity in faith and in knowledge of the Son of God. God being unchanging, requires us individually to redefine our assumptions of faith and love in order that, not we but, God Himself may claim us: His children.
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