THE MAINSPRING

THE MAINSPRING Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

It is our point of view that fundamental Christian theology is in need of a reformation. While there are several errors being preached today, the common denominator appears to be the concept that the Christian redemption consists primarily of forgiveness, with the objective being eternal residence in the spirit Paradise (Heaven). As venerable as the grace-Heaven teaching may be it simply cannot be supported by the Hebrew-Christian Scriptures. Furthermore, the doctrine of "justification by faith alone" has destroyed the moral strength of the Christian churches.

Table of Contents 

Introduction—the Historical Disaster

The Terror of the Lord

Repentance

Why repentance is not preached A further misunderstanding

The Role of Divine Judgment in Our Salvation

Judgment on sin Judging the living and the dead The Beema Hell and Heaven as the only alternatives Saved as by fire Saved with difficulty

The First Resurrection

How we overcome Steps to the first resurrection The purpose of the first resurrection What it means to be free from the authority of the second death

The Goal of God—People Who Behave Righteously, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God

From Justification to Glorification

The Purpose of God

From Justification to Glorification

Justification The second goat Deliverance from sin Change Being filled with the fullness of God Complete oneness with God through Christ

Glorification

SAVED BY FAITH ALONE?

Introduction

Justification by belief Romans 10:9,10 The new covenant

Definition of Biblical Terms

Righteousness Eternal life Grace Faith Salvation

Paul's Attitude Toward the Christian Redemption

How the New Covenant Operates

Salvation in terms of the Law of Moses Salvation in terms of the new covenant

The Original Sin

Death and Resurrection—the Heart of the New Covenant

Deliverance From Sin by Means of Death and Resurrection—From the Sixth Chapter of the Book of Romans

Verse one Verse two Verse three Verse four Verse five Verse six Verse seven Verse eight Verse nine Verse ten Verse eleven Verse twelve Verse thirteen Verse fourteen Verse fifteen Verse sixteen Verse seventeen Verse eighteen Verse nineteen Verse twenty Verse twenty-one Verse twenty-two Verse twenty-three

Ministry by Means of Death and Resurrection

Conclusion—Obtaining a Better Resurrection

Review

INTRODUCTION—THE HISTORICAL DISASTER

After two thousand years of Christianity the sin in the world is unbelievable. If the purpose of the Gospel of Christ is to turn the nations to righteousness it certainly has had limited success.

The Christian religion began in the Middle East, has been practiced in Europe, and since then has spread to many other parts of the world. Yet today in many nations boys and girls are sold into sexual slavery to satisfy the lusts of adults. Pornography is widespread.

In the United States of America, a nominally Christian nation, abominations abound. Some public schools at every grade level are seeking to create a favorable attitude toward homosexual behavior, a practice condemned by both the Old and New Testaments. Innocent people are shot dead in the streets. Children are mutilated. Christian values increasingly are despised. Sorcery is accepted in place of the Scriptures. Christians are near to social ostracism and penalties.

The Muslims, who constitute a large fraction of the world’s population, hate the United States of America. Why? Because the moral practices of the United States are an abomination to Islam.

Why are the moral practices of the United States an abomination to Islam? Because the Christian influence in the United States has not resulted in a nation of people who live in righteousness, holiness, and the fear of God.

Why has the Christian influence in the United States of America not resulted in a nation of people who live in righteousness, holiness, and the fear of God? Why do the Muslims and Buddhists emphasize and strive for principles of morality and American Christians often do not? Why do Muslims fall on their face and pray publicly several times a day, seeking the approval of Allah, while in the United States such behavior would be a cause for mockery or considered illegal? It is because of the teaching of lawless grace, of forgiveness apart from righteous behavior, that has dominated Christian thinking throughout the centuries.

If The Christian churches taught and practiced the laws of the Kingdom of God as presented in the Judaic and Christian Scriptures, if the light of "good works" were shining, it is possible that some of the members of Islam and other major religions of the world would be favorably impressed. They then might take a different attitude toward the Lord Jesus.

The Christian religion—at least in our day—often does not insist on righteous behavior as essential to salvation. We may stress the provisions and truths of the Divine redemption, such as belief in the Lord Jesus, the blood atonement, the bodily resurrection of the Lord, forgiveness of sin, but we often do not present righteous behavior as an important aspect of redemption, protesting that righteous works are "legalism."

It appears that the Catholic Church emphasizes its rites, including confession of sins, and the Protestant churches stress the grace of forgiveness and God’s love and mercy. In neither case is a transformed moral personality shown to be the purpose of the Divine redemption. 

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

In many instances the believers view righteous, holy behavior as desirable but not the necessary outcome of the Christian salvation, and sometimes consider attempts to live righteously as pharisaism.

We Christians have suffered and the world has suffered because of our lack of righteous behavior.

The Russians, the Arabs, the Jews, the Chinese, and other governments and races have rejected the Christian salvation, not because such nations do not desire the approval of God but because of the foolish, immoral, self-seeking behavior of the Christians and the competition among their denominations.

Yet, Christ and His Apostles stressed righteous behavior and commanded us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Let us think for a moment about what has gone wrong with the mainspring of the Christian religion, what has paralyzed and destroyed the Christian witness in so many instances. 

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:36)

Peter’s words proclaim the foundation of the Christian faith. God has made Jesus, whom men crucified, both Lord and Christ. This is the foundation of our faith and other aspects of our theology are built on this rock. 

Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. (Acts 5:31)

God’s plan of redemption includes forgiveness of sins for whoever will believe and receive the blood atonement made on the cross of Calvary. Forgiveness of sins through Christ is part of the provisions and truths of the Christian faith and is a major message of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Forgiveness depends on repentance, on a change of behavior, as we notice in the above verse.

The provisions and truths of the Christian faith are the only means of converting sinful man into the moral image of Christ so he will behave righteously. While the Divine provisions and truths offered in the Christian faith, such as forgiveness through the blood atonement, are not the Kingdom laws of righteous behavior, they must result in righteous behavior or else God’s intention in providing them is aborted. 

And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. (Acts 24:25)

Paul did not discuss with Governor Felix going to Heaven and the "rapture," as would be done today. Paul reasoned of righteousness (righteous behavior), temperance (self-control), and the Divine judgment that will fall on all who practice wickedness.

The Christian churches, when their advice is sought, should reason with the leaders of government concerning righteous behavior, self-control, and the Day of Judgment, and not offer a cheap grace that requires no change of behavior. 

But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance [appropriate to repentance] (Acts 26:20)

"Repent and turn to God, and do works." "And do works."

There is far too much emphasis on "free grace" today and not nearly enough on works of righteousness. Turning toward God in repentance and works of righteousness are a major part of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, being on the same level of importance as forgiveness through faith in the blood of the Lamb. Today we seldom emphasize repentance and righteous behavior with the same seriousness as we do grace and forgiveness.

The principal message of the Apostles, as recorded in the Book of Acts was repentance, that is, a change of behavior. Forgiveness was preached only in association with repentance. This is not true today, and the result of our unscriptural preaching is the moral horrors that are filling the earth.

Christian people are becoming upset with what is taking place in the secular governments, and indeed they should be upset! But the fault lies in the churches. God is dealing today with the lack of repentance on the part of the believers in Christ.

The major subjects of the Book of Acts appear to be the proclaiming of the mysteries of the provisions and truths of the Divine redemption including the forgiveness of sins; repentance from the sinful behavior of the world and a righteous life lived in faith toward God.

During the Christian Era the original preaching has been altered. The alteration has largely destroyed the effectiveness of the Christian witness.

There has been a removal of the emphasis upon repentance and righteous behavior in the Kingdom of God as a necessary part of redemption.

An abstract grace virtually unrelated to behavior accompanied by a flight to Heaven of the fleshly believers appear to be the primary emphasis of the Christian teaching and efforts of today. Yet such an emphasis cannot be found in the Book of Acts.

In many instances we have succeeded in creating churches and denominations. But it seems we have not been nearly as successful in producing disciples and teaching them to keep the New Testament commandments.

We have departed from the Word of God!

The almost exclusive emphasis on a warped presentation of the provisions and truths of salvation rather than the creation of righteous people has succeeded in removing the lampstand of testimony from numerous Christian efforts.

The fundamentalist churches of today alternate between raging against the practices of the secular governments and proclaiming the imminent departure of the believers to live in golden mansions in the spirit realm. They are missing God on both counts.

The secular governments are reflecting the moral weakness and confusion of the churches.

The Christian churches have failed the Lord and the world by presenting Divine grace as an alternative to godly behavior in place of teaching the commandments of Christ to the nations of the earth, thus ignoring the directive of Christ in the Great Commission.

The presentation of Divine grace as an abstraction that operates independently of the behavior of the believer dates back to the first century of the Christian Era. One can take certain verses from Paul’s arguments against the Judaizers and construct a "salvation" that is a mental position rather than a new righteous creation.

By stressing the forgiveness included in the Divine redemption, while not emphasizing a change of behavior to the same extent as the accepting of forgiveness, the Gospel message of today has destroyed the Divine testimony, the testimony of righteous works. It is the righteous behavior of individuals whom the Gospel has transformed that is the moral light, and the only possible moral light, of the secular nations.

By emphasizing eternal residence in Heaven as the goal of redemption, and adding to this the pre-tribulation "rapture" doctrine, the role of the churches has been changed from that of the moral light of the world to a Heaven-oriented special kingdom which, as we have stated, either rages against the moral abominations of today’s large nations or else looks with hope toward an immediate evacuation of the believers (in their untransformed state) to the spirit realm.

We might add that the contemporary "Reconstruction" movement is an expression of outraged Christians who hope to tear down the secular government and replace it with a government more in line with Christian moral values. While the frustration of believers is understandable, this movement is doomed to failure because it depends on the efforts of the sinful, self-willed adamic nature to accomplish that which only the Spirit of God can bring to pass. It attempts to use carnal rather than spiritual weapons. The efforts of adamic flesh to force Christian moral values on unregenerate people may result in the persecution of all Christians.

God’s royal priesthood of today is bound with the chains of involvement in the world system, the lusts of the flesh, and self-will. The Holy Spirit of God is ready to judge the churches and the nations for their abominable practices, and also is calling out from the churches a warlike remnant and is judging and removing the chains of worldliness, sin, and self-will from the members of this remnant. The holy remnant will play an important role during the age of moral horrors that is appearing on the horizon.

God’s remnant of today (as has been true of the godly Christian remnants throughout history) understand the absolute necessity for seeking God’s Kingdom and His righteousness. They realize that repentance and righteous behavior play an equal role with forgiveness of sins, in the Christian salvation.

The bulk of Paul’s teaching has to do with righteous behavior, not imputed (ascribed) righteousness. This is true of all the books of the New Testament. The Divine redemption includes forgiveness as the first step toward transformation into the image of Christ and toward union with Christ. But to present Divine grace as an abstract, eternal amnesty unrelated to behavior is to abort the entire program of salvation. The Divine salvation is infinitely more than forgiveness of sins. Its main products are deliverance from sin and the forming of Christ in us.

By grace we obtain forgiveness. By deliverance and the formation of Christ in our inner nature we enter the Kingdom of God. 

But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. (Luke 11:20)

Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:21)

The greatest lie ever told, the lie being proclaimed over and over again, is that we will enter the Kingdom of God by grace even though we "do such things."

No one ever enters the Kingdom of God except by repenting, by forsaking his wicked practices and turning to God in newness of behavior. Christ enables us to do this. Christ does not serve as the Divine excuse for wicked behavior.

Let us think about the Great Commission. 

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach [make disciples of] all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)

Make disciples of all the nations.

Baptize them.

Teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.

The commandment is to make disciples of all of God’s elect found in the nations, water baptism being part of the provisions and truths of the Divine salvation, and also to teach the elect to obey the commandments of the all-powerful Christ, which are the laws of the Kingdom of God.

Notice also: 

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:15,16)

Both the Catholic Church and the Protestant churches have sought to go into all the world and preach the good news of forgiveness through the blood of Jesus, encouraging people to be converted through some form of baptism in water.

But teaching the members of the nations the righteous ways of the Lord, putting repentance and godly living on the same level of importance as forgiveness and the other provisions and truths of the Divine redemption, has not occurred in many instances in either the Catholic or Protestant organizations.

The historical record of the Catholic Church, with its torture and murder of dissidents, is hardly a credit to the name of the gentle Jesus of Nazareth. The Catholic Church appears to be nearly totally ignorant of the authoritative and powerful provisions God has made for personal transformation and of the absolute importance of such moral transformation in the Kingdom of God.

The historical record of the Protestant churches may be somewhat closer to the Nature of the Lord Jesus but not much closer. Many early groups, such as the first Methodists, stressed holy living. But today in the fundamentalist churches the accent seems to be almost entirely on the grace of forgiveness, mansions in Heaven, and a flight to Heaven so today’s believers (unlike the Christians throughout the centuries as well as multitudes of today’s believers) will not suffer persecution.

It is not important at this time to delve into the interaction of the various popes and the kings of Europe. The interaction was political war and little else. We understand there were numerous priests in humble parishes who taught righteous behavior to their flocks. But the denomination as a whole did not by its example persuade the nations to obey the Sermon on the Mount. The government of the Catholic Church often did not bear a true witness of Jesus. It murdered, stole, and coveted wealth and power. Thus it did not fulfill the Great Commission because it did not teach by example the commandments of the Lord. It did not always take up its cross and follow Jesus.

The Protestant churches of today are not fulfilling the Great Commission as it is presented in the Scripture. In many instances they are enlisting believers but they are not teaching them to obey the commandments of the Lord. They also appear to understand little or nothing of the authoritative and powerful provisions God has made for the transformation of the believer or of the absolute necessity in the Kingdom of God for such transformation.

The message of the Christian churches, in addition to forgiveness through the blood of the cross and a few of the other Divine provisions and truths, too often is a mixture of humanism, capitalism, psychology, democracy, and a ceaseless repetition of how much God loves us and at any moment is going to snatch up the untransformed believers into Paradise, there to be married to the righteous and holy Lamb of God on the basis of "grace."

In addition, there also is much foolishness and silliness practiced during the worship services.

The Protestant churches are not always living according to the commandments of the Lord and His Apostles or directing the nations to perform the righteous works commanded by the Lord. When we do have the opportunity to bring what is supposed to be the good news of the Kingdom of God we stress forgiveness plus the mixture of humanism, capitalism, psychology and so forth that we mentioned previously. None of this teaching transforms the believer into the image of the Lord. Only the good corn of the Word of God builds up Christ in the believer. This, plus the extraordinary emphasis on "church growth," is why we have the everlasting babyhood of the believers.

Sometimes medical and psychologic treatment is necessary because of the wide range of physical, mental, and emotional disorders prevalent in our society. An individual in distress is not able to take up his or her cross and follow the Lord Jesus any more than a person with a broken leg can run a race. However, bringing the believer to a state of health is not the final objective. The final objective is to be transformed into the moral image of Christ and to enter untroubled rest in the Father through Christ.

There is a stress today on "wholeness," the wholeness of the adamic personality. Imagine the Lord Jesus or His Apostles emphasizing that we should use the Gospel to create a "whole" adamic personality! There is one place to assign the whole adamic personality, and that is the cross of Calvary.

As we have stated, this is not to deny the medical and psychologic assistance needed by the people of the large nations of today. There are factors in modern cultures that create suicidal depression, anger, fear, frustration, insecurity, and a host of other mental and emotional illnesses. The individual suffering from childhood molestation or some other emotional trauma is not always psychologically strong enough to take up his or her cross and follow Jesus. He or she must be healed first, in many instances.

We must make provision for the psychologic healing of numerous American Christians. We must also keep in mind that the Christian churches are not primarily hospitals but the moral light of the world. We are to bring people to health and then teach them to become disciples of Jesus. God is forming an army today. Armies always need hospitals but their purpose is to win wars.

The Great Commission commands us to make disciples of the nations. A disciple is someone who turns away from the world and his own life, takes up his personal cross, and follows the Lord Jesus wherever He goes. How many Christian churches in the United States of America are practicing and preaching discipleship according to the words of the Lord in the Gospel accounts?

If we are not practicing and preaching true discipleship then we ourselves are not obeying the Lord. If we are not obeying the Lord we are in no position to attack the secular nations because of moral behavior we find particularly distasteful.

No amount of proclaiming the pre-tribulation rapture of the believers can produce one molecule of growth of Christ in the hearer. In addition to our unscriptural message we emphasize the building of churches and the construction of denominational kingdoms. Some kind of structure may be necessary at times as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission, but we must always keep in mind that the organizing of Christians and the building of churches and denominations are not the stated efforts or goals of the Great Commission.

The desire to organize, to build, to govern, to exercise preeminence, to control, to compete, to excel, to accumulate power and wealth is not holy and is as powerful in the immature Christians as it is in the non-Christians.

Churches and organizations can serve a useful purpose. But the end of the matter is to know and love Jesus. The spirit of Babylon is the worship of churches.

If an individual is not walking in daily trust in the Lord and is not being transformed into the moral image of Jesus then his church membership will avail him nothing in the Day of the Lord.

After a century or two, once-fiery groups become mausoleums filled with relics. The Life and revelation of God are found in other places.

One can look back through the wilderness of history and see the road God has taken. The prior organizations are still in place, repeating activities that once had been inspired by the Spirit of God but now are little more than the religious striving of the fallen nature of man.

The Glory of the Lord, Moses, the priests, the Ark of the Covenant, so to speak, are far ahead moving toward the land of promise and it is up to the denominations and churches to make certain they are moving with them. The shout of war is in the camp today as the saints prepare themselves for the violent installation of the Kingdom of God upon the earth.

The Book of Acts shows how the Great Commission is to be carried out. The apostles and elders were concerned with the proper presentation of the Gospel to the Gentiles and sent forth apostles and teachers to bring the good news of forgiveness through the blood atonement, and also the necessity for godly behavior.

It was not as necessary to stress godly behavior to the Jews because they understood very well from the Law of Moses that God requires righteous behavior. But the Gentiles, having little understanding of the righteous, holy Nature of the true God, needed to be admonished to repent of their wickedness and to turn to God in righteous behavior. 

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1)

The interaction of Paul with Felix reveals the manner in which the Lord’s apostles are to approach the secular governments. We are to reason with the secular governments concerning righteous behavior, self-control, and the Divine judgment to come.

However, if the Christian are to reprove the secular powers regarding righteous behavior, then the Christians themselves will have to behave righteously. They will have to be filled with God's Spirit and holy in behavior.

The Christians guide the secular government by the testimony of their godly behavior, not by attempting to use fleshly means to compel the government to obey the laws of moral behavior. When fleshly means are employed the Christians are seen to be as full of guile and manipulation as is true of the unsaved. The Lord Jesus by His example of behavior toward the government of Rome shows us what our attitude should be.

The role of the Christian churches is to be the moral light of the world, the revelation of God, His prophet among men. The Christians are to be disciples of the Lord, walking in righteousness and always ready to teach God’s provision for forgiveness and His righteous commandments to whoever will listen.

It seems to us that every government, whether it be socialist, or Islamic, or Hindu in philosophy, would be more than willing to insist on principles of righteous living. Honesty, integrity, faithfulness, industry, moral purity on the part of its citizens are of benefit to any government. It is not often we hear of a government honoring its citizens for dishonesty, treachery, laziness, drunkenness, or fornication.

The principal difference between Christianity and other religions and philosophies is that through Christ a person receives forgiveness of sins and then has access to the tremendous authority and power of God in order to become truthful, faithful, honest, industrious, and morally pure. All governments profit when these virtues are practiced by the people, but only Christianity contains the power to produce consistently righteous behavior.

Perhaps we have not stressed repentance and righteous behavior to ourselves or our listeners. Perhaps we have diminished the demands of Christ.

Perhaps we do not realize that if we fill our building with people and then they do not turn away from the world, take up their personal cross, and follow the Lord Jesus, we have accomplished nothing of value in the Kingdom of God. Do we truly understand what a disciple is or that the outcome of the Christian redemption is a morally transformed personality?

Sometimes people do not draw on the Person of Jesus for the authority and power to overcome sin and self-will because of their belief that as long as we are in the world, Satan can force us to sin.

Do we have the wrong goals? Are we unaware of the power that is available to deliver us from Satan? Perhaps we have been ignorant of the Divine salvation, its goals and its program. It appears that the churches—and the world as a result—are in moral chaos. The Christian churches are the only moral light of the world, and the light of the churches has become darkness because of sin, and self-will.

Christ is coming to us today in fulfillment of the Old Testament observances of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles. These are the Jewish feasts that follow Pentecost (Leviticus, Chapter 23). A large number of Christian churches have been as far as Pentecost, to speak symbolically, and it is time to press forward in the Lord.

Christ is ready to wage war against the sin and self-will in the churches. He is prepared to reconcile a holy remnant to Himself. Christ intends to employ the holy remnant as a witness to every nation on earth in order to prepare the nations for the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. This end-time "latter rain" revival is symbolized by the two witnesses of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation.

Every valley must be exalted. Every mountain must be brought low. The rough places must be made smooth and the crooked straight. The entrance into the earth of the King of all kings is at hand.

He who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. It is time for the moral light of the Kingdom of God to shine to every nation—not only the light of the provisions and truths of redemption but the light of righteous behavior as well. 

For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. (Isaiah 62:1)

"Until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness." This is not referring to imputed (ascribed) righteousness but actual righteousness of behavior.

Christian, Catholic or Protestant, the Lord Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart. Let Him enter and dine with you on His own body and blood. It is the Judge who is at the door. He is the Lord of Armies. Open the everlasting doors of your personality and permit Him to drive the enemy from your personality so He and you may sit on the Father’s throne in your reborn inner nature. 

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

Then shall the righteous shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 13:43)

Having your conversation [behavior] honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. (I Peter 2:12)

If you live a righteous life, the nation that rejects your message of salvation will acknowledge God’s glory in the Day of Judgment, having no evil thing to say of you. You will have borne a true witness of God.

When a nation is sick with sin, what are its Christian citizens to do?

They are to humble themselves. They are to pray. They are to seek God’s face. They are to turn (repent) from their own wicked ways.

What is God’s promise if they do this?

"I will hear from Heaven. I will forgive their sin. I will heal their land."

THE TERROR OF THE LORD 

Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. (II Corinthians 5:11)

What has happened to the terror of the Lord? We do not see believers working out their own salvation with fear and trembling. Why is this? 

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12)

Are the believers of today working out their own salvation with fear and trembling or with silliness and a carefree spirit of false assurance, the false assurance that goes with today’s preaching? "Say the four steps of salvation and you never can lose the favor and blessing of God. God has saved you eternally and unconditionally no matter how you behave. The blood of Jesus is your ticket to Paradise when you die."

Repentance

Our preaching today is lacking a vital element—the call to repentance, to a change of behavior. We are preaching "another gospel," a gospel that does not make the Divine demands on the hearer.

John the Baptist preached repentance. The Lord Jesus preached repentance. The Apostles of the Lamb always preached repentance. They did not preach let Jesus into your heart, or you must be born again, or slip up your hand and accept Jesus, or anything of the kind. The Book of Acts portrays the Apostles preaching repentance, and water baptism as a sign the believer has turned away from the malice and wickedness of the world. 

And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:47)

The first message of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is "repentance."

"Repent, and be baptized." The Apostle Peter spoke to the Jews concerning the Lordship of Christ. Then he commanded them to change their behavior and to be baptized in water so they could have their sins forgiven. 

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; (Acts 3:19)

Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. (Acts 3:26)

"Repent ye therefore." "Turning away every one of you from his iniquities."

The message of the Book of Acts is, "Repent"! 

When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. (Acts 11:18)

"Repentance unto life"! It is repentance, a change of behavior, that leads us to eternal life.

Repentance, a change of behavior, was preached by the early Apostles in view of the coming of Christ to judge the deeds of people. God in Christ shall judge the world "in righteousness." The concept was (and is) that if you do not change your manner of living you will suffer at the coming of the Lord. This was the original Gospel. 

And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. (Acts 17:30,31)

Why repentance is not preached. Repentance is not preached today because of a misunderstanding of the nature of the Christian salvation, a misunderstanding that has been with us from the first century.

From the beginning of the Christian Era some teachers of the Gospel have proclaimed that the grace Paul preached signifies that Christ saves us apart from our behavior. Immoral, lawless behavior is acceptable because redemption was completed on the cross of Calvary. 

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [immorality] and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4)

"Turning the grace of our God into lust." It is possible to turn the grace of God into an excuse for animal lust.

The blood of Jesus then becomes a ticket by which we enter happiness when we die regardless of our behavior on the earth.

Protestants often define Divine grace only as forgiveness. We are justified (forgiven our sins and made acceptable to God) by faith alone, some proclaim. This in spite of James’ teaching that faith alone, not accompanied by works of righteousness, is dead. 

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. (James 2:17)

"We are saved (meaning we will go to Heaven when we die) by faith alone" is the prevailing understanding of the Christian salvation in our day. Christian preachers and teachers maintain that Christians ought to live a godly life, but if they do not they will go to Paradise in any case because we are saved by grace and not by works of righteousness we have done.

It is true that we are saved by Divine grace. But the concept that we shall be brought to Paradise when we die on the basis of "accepting Christ," even though we have lived an immoral, lawless life, reveals a total misunderstanding of the program of redemption, of its goal, and of Divine grace.

The practitioners of Judaism thrust aside the need for righteous behavior by stressing ceremonial practices derived from the Law of Moses. The Christians thrust aside the need for righteous behavior by stressing a profession of belief in Christ. In both instances the practices of religion have taken the place of justice, mercy, and faith.

Few forces on earth are as effective in destroying integrity, conscience, and common sense as is true of religion.

In other places we have mentioned that the Great Commission has been changed from making disciples into building churches. If we truly believe that the Christian salvation is a ticket to Heaven, that godly behavior is not the purpose of redemption, and that our goal is to build a large and "successful" church, then we are not going to emphasize the need for repentance.

We do not preach repentance today because we do not believe a change of behavior is absolutely necessary—or even possible, in some instances! Also, the preaching of repentance will drive today’s "believers" away from the church (we suppose), thus frustrating those who view the adding of numbers of people as the evidence of "success in the ministry."

A further misunderstanding. Back in the minds of many Christians is the concept of "faith alone": that is, even though I do not make the supreme effort necessary to turn away from the world and follow the Lord I will find peace and joy when I die. This is a false, unscriptural hope.

"The just shall live by faith" has been changed from a description of the manner in which the righteous live to a formula by which people can ignore the need for righteous behavior in favor of a "statement of faith."

We hear Christians saying, "As long as we are in this world we will sin. No one is perfect. We ought to try to be good but it is impossible to overcome sin."

The idea that sin cannot be overcome in this world is compatible with the concept that the blood of Jesus is a ticket that brings us to Paradise whether or not we live a godly life, and with the doctrine of the "pre-tribulation rapture" of the believers.

The reason Christians do not attempt to overcome sin is that they believe it is neither necessary nor possible to do so. What fighter would enter the ring if he knew he could not win? What runner would strain the last nerve if he understood that no matter how hard he strove victory was impossible? Thus Christian believers, attempting to survive in a demon-saturated environment, do not make the effort necessary to overcome sin.

There are at least three passages one could employ to prove that sin cannot be overcome while we are in the world:

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (Romans 3:10)

For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. (Romans 7:15)

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (I John 1:8)

The Scriptures are written in such a manner that if someone wishes to disobey God he can defend his actions with Scriptures. God deals with the rebels by sending a strong delusion on them.

If one wishes to prove it is permissible for him to sin he can support his desire with Scripture verses.

The fact is, none of the above passages proves we cannot overcome sin through Christ while we are alive in the world.

Let us take the first passage. "There is none righteous, no, not one." This is a quotation from Psalms. 

They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Psalms 14:3)

This passage does not indicate there are no righteous people in the world. Notice a following verse: 

There were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous. (Psalms 14:5)

There is in the world a "generation of the righteous."

The concept of Psalm 14 is that there were wicked people in Israel who were not calling on the Lord; but God was among the righteous who indeed were trusting in the Lord. There were righteous people in Israel at that time!

Did Paul maintain that all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God? Yes, he did. No individual can save himself. All of us were born in sin and have a sin nature. But Paul’s motive in saying this was not to prove it is useless to attempt to live righteously but rather to show that we must come to the Lord Jesus for salvation. We cannot save ourselves by the works of the Law of Moses or by practicing any other moral code.

What about the second verse? "For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I." Doesn’t this prove that no matter how hard I try I cannot overcome sin? No, it assuredly does not prove anything of the kind.

Paul is addressing Jewish teachers ("I speak to those who know the Law") who believed they could attain righteousness by obeying the Torah, the Law of Moses.

Paul states in Romans, Chapters Six and Eight that if the believer continues to serve sin he shall die spiritually. Therefore he is not claiming in Chapter Seven that it is impossible to overcome sinful behavior through Christ! 

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

For if ye live in the appetites of the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

Paul’s meaning is that he himself, as a follower of the Law of Moses, found there was a law of sin in his flesh that drove him to disobey the Law, a compulsion to sin that caused great distress to him because of his desire for righteousness. Paul was pointing out that the adamic nature is unable to obey the Law of Moses, not that we cannot overcome sin through Christ.

If we would press forward to resurrection life we must gain victory over sin by walking in the Spirit of God.

What about the third verse? "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves." Doesn’t this prove that as long as we are in the world we shall sin? No, it certainly does not.

The following verse informs us that if we will confess our sins God will forgive us and cleanse us. 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

"From all unrighteousness"!

The entire Book of First John is an admonition to Christians concerning righteous behavior, warning them that sin has no place in Christ, in the eternal Life and Light who was with the Father from the beginning. 

Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. (I John 3:6)

The New Testament stresses one fact: if we come to the Lord Jesus in repentance, changing our manner of life, we will be forgiven our past sins and find wisdom and strength to walk before God in holiness and righteousness. 

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [appeasement] through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (Romans 3:25)

That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. (Luke 1:74,75)

"Might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him."

From Genesis to Revelation we are taught that sin brings destruction and death. In the New Testament we are instructed that those who will come to Christ can find in Him the wisdom and power necessary to overcome sin and thus to enter eternal life. 

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end [and the result is] everlasting life. (Romans 6:22)

It is both necessary and possible to overcome sinful behavior through the grace of the Lord Jesus. Major portions of the New Testament are exhortations to believers to crucify their flesh and live a godly life, warning them that if they do not bring forth the fruit of Christ’s moral image in their personalities they will come under the judgment of God.

The second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation speak to the conquerors, the victorious saints. The rewards we ordinarily associate with being a Christian are assigned to those who overcome the sins and problems associated with the churches.

These two chapters are a perfect example of the importance of works in the Christian redemption. The emphasis is on the behavior of the consecrated saints, not on their belief in doctrine. 

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. (Revelation 2:5)

"Do the first works." 

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)

"Be faithful unto death." 

Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. (Revelation 2:22)

"Except they repent of their deeds." 

And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. (Revelation 2:23)

"I will give unto every one of you according to your works." "According to your works." "Your works"!

There are numerous other passages throughout the New Testament.

A spirit of blindness has fallen upon Christian believers. They cannot see what is plainly written. They do not have eyes to see or ears to hear the Lord. The result of the lawless-grace-rapture teaching is spiritual blindness.

The teaching of Dispensationalism, that being "under grace" means God no longer insists on righteous behavior but views the believer only through the righteousness of Christ, makes it difficult for the student to perceive what is plainly written in the Scriptures.

It is necessary to keep in mind, as we are reviewing the bases of the current apostasy, that salvation is not eternal residence in Heaven. Salvation is deliverance from Satan, change into the moral image of Jesus, and oneness with Jesus and the Father. The purpose of such deliverance, transformation and oneness is not that we might live forever in Heaven. It is that we might please the Father and perform the many roles and functions that have been assigned to the royal priesthood. Until the program and goal of salvation is clearly defined in one’s mind it is very difficult if not impossible to understand the Scriptures or the working of God in the individual.

The Role of Divine Judgment in Our Salvation

The fourth chapter of First Peter presents the role of Divine judgment in our redemption.

Judgment on sin. 

Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; (I Peter 4:1)

"Hath ceased from sin."

This first verse sets the stage for the discussion of the role of suffering in the Divine salvation. The suffering that comes upon us is a judgment on the evil that dwells in our flesh so we will cease from sin.

Compare: 

Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: (II Thessalonians 1:5)

"Manifest token of the righteous judgment of God." "Worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer."

The persecutions and tribulations being endured by the Christians in Thessalonica were evidence of the righteous judgment of God—a judgment falling on the believers so they would not be condemned with the world.

The expressions "hath ceased from sin" and "worthy of the kingdom of God" reveal that it is both possible and necessary that Christians overcome sin while they are living in the world. 

That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. (I Peter 4:2)

It is not the will of God that His people live in the lusts of the flesh after the manner of unsaved mankind. The purpose of the new covenant is to do that which the Law of Moses was unable to accomplish, that is, to produce worshipers who will practice righteousness, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

How could the Scripture be clearer, more pointed? Have we not been grievously deceived with the lawless-grace-rapture teaching? 

For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness [immorality], lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: (I Peter 4:3)

Here is the concept of repentance. Before we became a Christian we behaved in a sinful, shameful manner. But now through our Lord’s grace we have turned away from the abominations practiced by the Gentile nations. 

Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: (I Peter 4:4)

The true Christian conducts himself in such a manner that the unsaved regard his behavior as strange, as unusual. The world cannot see imputed (ascribed) righteousness, only actual righteousness of behavior. Actual righteousness of behavior, the moral image of the Lord Jesus, is the only light of the world.

Judging the living and the dead. 

Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick [living] and the dead. For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. (I Peter 4:5,6)

"Ready to judge the living and the dead."

We need to think a great deal about the fact that the Lord Jesus is ready to judge the living and the dead. We find later in this chapter (I Peter, Chapter Four) that the Divine judgment begins with the household of God. The judgment, which includes suffering as long as there is sin and self-seeking in our personality, falls equally upon living and dead persons. The dead are alive in the spirit world but are judged as though they still were alive in the flesh.

It has been assumed that once we accept the Lord Jesus we need have no fear of death. No matter how believers behave on the earth, death will prove to be removal from pain and dread and passage into a land where all is joy and security.

The Scriptures do not support this concept.

It is our understanding that unless there is a widespread repentance in our day, many if not most believers will face pain and torment after death. They will experience pain and torment because they have not obeyed the Gospel. They have not repented of their worldly ways. They have not presented their body a living sacrifice. They have not denied themselves, taken up their cross, and followed the Lord Jesus. They have not forgiven their enemies. They have not crucified their flesh with its appetites and lusts. They have not been diligent in the use of their talents.

They shall be judged and rewarded according to their behavior when they die. It is possible that many Christian believers in the wealthy nations of our day are not prepared to meet Christ. They are trusting in an unscriptural "pre-tribulation rapture" to save them. They are careless and lukewarm concerning the things of Christ.

They have not worked out their own salvation with fear and trembling. They will not hear well done, good and faithful servant. They sometimes are foolish, silly, spiritually lazy people who have neglected their salvation. They shall be terrified when they die and find themselves in the hands of God.

It is because of the terrifying prospect of finding ourselves in the hands of God that we are exhorted to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Although we may have minimized the demands of God, the demands of God have not actually changed. Therefore we Christians can expect to experience the terror of the Lord when we die.

We are as children whose parents have been indulgent, caring more for our approval than our welfare. We are self-centered, selfish, despisers of those who are good, arrogant, proud, believing that God stands ready to wait on our every desire. How little we understand the consuming Fire of Israel!

When we turn away from the sin of the world and receive the Lord Jesus we are saved. What does it mean to be saved, in this sense? It means that Christ has become responsible for us. He paid the price for the whole world; therefore He can give eternal life to whomever He chooses.

To be saved means the Lord Jesus will work with us until we are in His moral image and filled with His life. To be lost means the redemptive processes of the body and blood of Christ and of the Holy Spirit no longer are available to us. We are cut off from the Presence of God forever. We are lost!

To be saved means the Lord assumes responsibility for us. He chastens severely every son whom He receives. The chastening is described in the fourth chapter of First Peter. The chastening consists of fiery ordeals designed to drive the sin and self-seeking from us, making it possible for the Divine Seed to grow in us, and for us to enter union with the Father through the Lord Jesus.

The chastening, the fiery ordeals, the prisons we endure, the tribulations, are Divine judgment on our personality. The Divine judgment produces salvation: this is to say, the suffering separates us from Satan and his works, makes possible the maturing of the Divine Seed in us, and brings us into the dependence on Christ and union with Himself that God desires.

It may be true that some of this judgment and suffering will take place in the spirit realm after we die or at the coming of the Lord.

It is appointed to men once to die and after that they shall be judged. We understand this to be true, but what does it mean? Will Christians be judged? Of course! Christ is ready to judge the living and the dead. The fiery trials that come upon the living may come upon the dead also, as far as we know. God judges the living and the dead whether or not the individual is a Christian.

The lashes to be given to the Lord’s servants who did evil works worthy of lashes may very well take place after death.

The Beema. Let us think about the Judgment Seat of Christ. There is widespread misunderstanding of the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Greek term is beema. The word beema is employed in the New Testament to indicate a court where accused criminals must appear.

It commonly is taught that the Judgment Seat of Christ is a kind of awards banquet in which some Christians are given first prize and others are handed lesser prizes. But there is nothing to fear. All shall be given a reward and there absolutely is nothing for the believer to fear at the Judgment Seat of Christ; no terror of the Lord.

This is what is taught to Christians in our day. Can you see why Satan would desire that Christians be taught not to fear the Judgment Seat? It is no wonder the fear of God is gone and in its place is silliness, foolishness, joking from the pulpit. Are we truly ready to be lifted in our foolishness into the Presence of Him whose eyes are a flame of fire.

Let us look at the Scripture, the unchanging Word of God. 

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)

It seems clear that:

All of us shall appear (be made manifest) before Christ.

For most Christians this judgment will take place in the spirit realm after death or at the coming of the Lord.

The believer will receive at the hand of Christ the things he has done while living in the physical body.

The believer will receive good for the good things he has done and evil for the evil things he has done.

The Judgment Seat of Christ is not based on our statement of faith but on the things we have done.

Some readers may find this verse difficult to reconcile with Paul’s teaching of grace in the first part of Romans. The difficulty arises from the fact that we do not understand the early chapters of Romans. The same apostle wrote who wrote about grace in the early chapters of the Book of Romans also penned Second Corinthians 5:10.

The beema of Christ is not an awards banquet. It is a court where accused criminals are brought to judgment. Every human being, Christian or not, will be brought here. We are a fallen, rebellious, lawless race.

Christians will receive not only good but also bad, depending on their works while in the body. 

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28,29)

"They that have done good . . . they that have done evil."

We have been taught wrong doctrine for so long we are unable to understand the clear, simple words of the Scripture.

The current teaching is that the believer need have no fear of the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Let us see if Paul agrees. 

Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. (II Corinthians 5:11)

"Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men."

Persuade what men of what terror?

We would respond, all men, including Christians.

Of what terror are we speaking? Of the terror of receiving the bad we have practiced, at the hands of the resurrected Christ.

The Judgment Seat of Christ is a good reason for every sinner to be terrified whether or not he is a believer in Christ.

We think the Apostle Paul would agree with this.

We have stated that Christ is ready to judge those who are alive in the world and those who are deceased. We have suggested that the Divine judgment comes in the form of fiery ordeals and that for most of us, most of the judgment, the ordeals, may take place in the spirit realm after we die or at the coming of the Lord.

Notice, for example, the following: 

But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:45-48)

We are speaking of the Lord’s servants, not of those who are not His servants. The Lord’s servants clearly stand in danger of receiving the inheritance of the unbelievers.

The problem is not one of unbelief in the doctrine of the atonement but of beating people and drunkenness.

The time setting is the coming of the Lord to His servant (perhaps not the historic coming in the clouds).

The misbehaving servant will be cut into pieces and appointed his portion with unbelievers.

We must prepare ourselves by doing the Lord’s will.

The Lord’s servant who understood His will and did not do it shall be beaten with lashes from a whip.

The Lord’s servant who did not know the Lord’s will but did things worthy of lashes shall be beaten less severely.

How anyone could be cut into pieces and then appointed a portion with unbelievers must be explained in the spirit realm. It will have to take place in the last days, in the time when the spirit and material realms converge. Once the convergence takes place it will be possible to cast the physical body into a spiritual fire, and also to cut someone into pieces and then assign him a place with unbelievers.

We would say that the prospect of being cut into pieces and then assigned a place with unbelievers is terrifying indeed! But this is the destiny of the Lord’s servants who have displeased Him by their conduct.

It is customary today to assign passages such as the above to the Jews, maintaining that Gentiles are saved by grace and never shall experience pain at the hand of the Lord.

If there is a more abominable, more unscriptural, more illogical, more indefensible argument than that of assigning all pain and judgment to God’s chosen people we do not know of it. This anti-Semitic teaching is the result of the destructive scheme of biblical interpretation termed "Dispensationalism."

We are in doctrinal chaos today.

The Reconstructionists reveal the presence of Satan in their midst by their hatred of Judaism and their desire to remove the Kingdom from Jerusalem.

The Amillennialists show their ignorance of the Divine intention by replacing the apocalyptic vision of the return of Jesus in thunderous triumph at the head of His armies with the hope of a gradual increase of righteousness as believers try to do better. They are missing the very iron, the very fire of the Kingdom of God.

The Replacement theologians, who would remove Israel in favor of the Christian Church regarding the promises and blessing of God, apparently do not bother to consider the clear statements of the Apostle Paul in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Romans, or the hundreds of promise to the people and land of Israel found in the Old Testament.

The teachers of faith and prosperity are not adhering to the writings of Paul that warn us against setting our heart on riches.

All of this confusion is founded on the lie that "accepting Christ" relieves us from all concern related to the Judgment Seat of Christ.

The original lie is still being repeated: "Thou shalt not surely die."

Hell and Heaven as the only alternatives. One aspect of current belief that confuses our thinking is the Hell-Heaven division. The concept is that all the lost go to be forever in Hell (sometimes thought of as the Lake of Fire, or Gehenna) and all the saved go immediately to Paradise. Hell or Heaven. Lost or saved. The term "outer darkness," which is employed several times in the Gospels and has to do with God’s unfaithful servants, is usually ignored.

The quotation from Luke (above) speaks of many and few lashes. In no manner can this apply to the Lake of Fire. Lashes are punishment with a view to correction and purification. One ordinarily does not whip a man and then hang him.

The Lake of Fire, the second death, is eternal confinement in a lake burning with fire and sulfur. It has nothing to do with many or few lashes or with punishment with a view toward correction.

By the same token, the New Testament often speaks of rewards. The destiny of the saved individual after death ranges all the way from being saved by fire to being seated on the throne with Christ—and everything in between.

Saved as by fire. 

If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (I Corinthians 3:15)

What does this mean? What does it mean to be saved "yet so as by fire"?

Being saved as by fire means that Christ has judged the person worthy of being brought over to the new heaven and earth reign, but in order to be acceptable to God that person must endure prolonged suffering.

Because of the unscriptural "gospel" of today we have believers saying it does not matter how they live because they will be saved as by fire. They suppose this means that they will not have as ornate a mansion or may sit on a lesser throne than is true of other more diligent believers.

Have they no idea of the torment of the fire of God? Are they aware that they may spend many years in great suffering as the immorality, viciousness, lying, scheming, and self-will are burned out of their personality? Are they anxious to die and pass into the spirit realm in their nakedness, devoid of any reward or inheritance, so they may begin what could be a very long time in the flames of spiritual torment?—perhaps to be thrown into outer darkness where they can see from a distance the light and glory of the Kingdom but not participate? Where they can hear the children laughing and singing but not be permitted to draw near? Where all around them is darkness, despair, gloom, the faces of demons, and weeping and gnashing of teeth from remorse over opportunities forever lost?

There is no suffering as excruciating as spiritual suffering. Once in the hands of the consuming Fire who is our God we no longer will be able to faint, go to sleep, flee, or die. After death we shall be intensely alive, intensely conscious, intensely aware of opportunities missed while alive on earth. The unbearable mental agony that will be experienced by those who did not recognize the day of their visitation, who wasted their Divinely given gifts and opportunities, would drive men on earth to insanity. But insanity is not possible there. There simply is no escape from the burning fire of the Lord.

"Knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade men." 

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; (Hebrews 2:3)

"If we neglect." How many "believers" of today are neglecting their salvation. Neglect, a casual approach, an unwillingness to consider the worth of the Kingdom of God, is prevalent among us. We are willing to strike the arrows three times and after that stop in disinterest (II Kings 13:18).

We teach the careless, the lukewarm, the distracted, that they need have no fear of death because they are saved by grace. The serpent is speaking in the ministry: "Thou shalt not surely die." This is why Christians are not working out their salvation with fear and trembling. But the Word of God declares: "You shall not escape. You have despised the blood of My Son!" 

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)

"Yes, but we have been taught not to fear God, only to love and reverence Him. Perfect love casts out fear. It is true that we do not have perfect love, but God is good and would never let us suffer."

This is how people think and speak in spite of the record of history, in spite of the fact that today thousands are suffering for the Gospel. It is said that more believers have been martyred in the twentieth century than in any preceding century and that in the present time a thousand Christians are being martyred each day. Are being martyred

For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. (Hebrews 10:26,27)

How many believers sin willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth? There is no second "Calvary" that will forgive their sins. "A fearful looking for of fiery judgment" is the result of such behavior. They by their actions prove themselves to be the adversaries of God, to be unworthy of the Kingdom of God.

As for being cast into the Lake of Fire to be with Satan and his angels forever, this is a fate so incomprehensibly horrible that the human mind is completely unable to fathom it.

Let us continue in the fourth chapter of First Peter. 

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: (I Peter 4:12)

The passage above reminds us of the first verse of the fourth chapter, which urges us to arm ourselves with a mind to suffer. The fiery trial is Divine judgment—judgment designed to drive sin and self-will from us and make us partakers of God’s holy Nature.

There were three great convocations of Israel: 

Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty: (Deuteronomy 16:16)

The feast of Unleavened Bread typifies the basic salvation experience through the blood of the Lamb.

The feast of Weeks represents the Pentecostal experience in which we learn to walk in holiness and also are empowered to bear witness of the atoning death, triumphant resurrection, and soon coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The feast of Tabernacles is that which we are approaching now. Included in the feast of Tabernacles are the blowing of Trumpets and the solemn Day of Atonement. The ten days from Trumpets to the Day of Atonement are known as Yomim Noroim (Days of Awe); for during these ten days God judges the world, in Jewish tradition.

After Pentecost we enter a time of fiery judgment, the purpose of which is to reconcile us totally to the Lord.

It is not possible to pass directly from Pentecost to Tabernacles. We must endure the pains and prisons of the Day of Atonement. Only then is it possible for the Father and the Son to enter us fully in the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.

Since God is now ready to judge the living and the dead we assume some parts of the household of God in the spirit realm may be passing through the fiery judgments of the Lord in order that God’s witnesses of every era can come to perfection together. We must keep in mind also that numerous saints of the past endured fiery trials while they yet were alive on the earth, as we can observe in the fourth chapter of First Peter, and also in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews. 

God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:40)

Peter goes on to say: 

But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. (I Peter 4:13)

The fiery trials we endure are a sharing in Christ’s sufferings.

Christ suffered for two reasons: first, to make an atonement for the sins of the world; second, to become perfect in obedience to the Father. 

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:10)

"To make the captain (the Lord Jesus) of their salvation perfect."

Did Christ need to be made perfect? The Lord Jesus was made perfect in obedience to the Father. From the beginning the Lord chose to obey the Father, saying, "I delight to do your will, O my God." Even with this attitude the Lord still learned perfect obedience through the things He suffered. 

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; (Hebrews 5:8)

If Christ learned obedience to the Father by suffering, what kind of fires shall we experience in order to prepare us to dwell with Him who is the consuming Fire? 

Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:28,29)

We are reminded that if we do not serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear we will fall into the hands of the consuming Fire.

Because of the disobedience of the fallen angels, Adam and Eve were led into disobedience. Perhaps because of their disobedience, Abraham, the father of all believers, was tested sternly in the realm of obedience.

Then the Son of God, Christ, was tested to an extent no human will ever comprehend—tested throughout His life and finally in Gethsemane, in the realm of obedience.

Now we who are following the Lord must be tested rigorously in the area of obedience to the Father.

The original sin was disobedience—the rebellion that occurred among the angels of God. Every son of God must be tested to the last measure in order to demonstrate total, stern, unyielding obedience to the Father.

The fiery ordeal, the test of obedience, is Divine judgment on us—a judgment that will work for our good if we remain faithful.

The spirit of disobedience to the Father’s will still fills the universe. It is in the fallen angels and it is in the Christians. How many Christians do you know who will do God’s will without question no matter what it is? Any believer who will not do God’s will without question is still rebelling against God.

After a thousand years of righteous rule, Satan still will be able to gather the peoples of the earth and lead them in rebellion against God.

The godly remnant of today are being taught obedience to the Father. The learning of obedience is part of the spiritual fulfillment of the Levitical Day of Atonement (Day of Reconciliation). The Day of Atonement will continue from now throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age (Millennium). Then all persons, except the members of royal priesthood, will be raised from the dead, stand before God, and be judged according to their works. This is the final phase of the Judgment Seat of Christ.

After that there will be a new heaven and earth. The holy city, Jerusalem, will be surrounded by a wall in order to keep out those who do not do the Father’s will. The saints will govern the new world in order to prevent future rebellions. 

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (I Peter 4:17)

First we learned that Christ is "ready to judge the living and the dead." Now we see that the Divine judgment begins at the household of God.

The Divine judgment falls upon us in the form of suffering—suffering designed to purify us of immorality, worldliness, and especially of self-will and self-seeking.

There is no escaping the Divinely imposed suffering. We cannot escape by physical death. Sooner or later, in one place or another, the worldliness, immorality, and self-will in our personality must be driven from us if we expect to walk in white with the Lord Jesus as a member of the royal priesthood. 

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. (Malachi 3:3)

Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:12)

Saved with difficulty. Now we come to a verse that makes no sense in terms of today’s teaching. But it makes perfect sense in the light of what we have written in the preceding pages. 

And if the righteous scarcely be saved [is saved with difficulty], where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (I Peter 4:18)

"If the righteous is saved with difficulty."

In what manner are the righteous saved with difficulty? For whom is the salvation of the righteous a difficult task?

If we are saved by the blood of the Lamb upon our acceptance of the Lord Jesus, where is the difficulty?

There is no difficulty according to modern teaching. The job was finished two thousand years ago.

The truth is, the righteous are in the process of being saved and it is a difficult task. It is difficult for God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the elect angels, the ministry, whoever is praying for us, and for us ourselves.

All of these are in travail as we struggle with God in the process of changing us from the adamic nature to a life-giving spirit. The love of the world must be burned out of us. The lusts of our bodies must be burned out of us. Our romanticism and idealism must be burned out of us. Our ambition to be preeminent must be burned out of us. Our self-will and self-centeredness must be burned out of us. Our willingness to covet another person’s inheritance and even to seek to supplant him or her must be burned out of us.

This is the program of salvation. We are being saved from Satan and brought fully into God’s person by means of all the Virtue, Substance, wisdom, and power of God that have been given us through Christ in order to save us from the world, from Satan, from our own lusts, and from our stubborn self-seeking.

We are in the process of being saved and it is very difficult for us to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in every detail. We can succeed through the grace of God in Christ, but only as we pay full attention to the program. Many are called but few are chosen. The chosen few are then tested rigorously in the area of faithfulness.

Those who will ride with the Lord Jesus in that Day are called, chosen, and faithful.

The First Resurrection

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6)

The first resurrection is the first resurrection. There is no resurrection of the saints prior to the first resurrection.

The first resurrection is not the resurrection of salvation but the resurrection of the royal priesthood, of those who have attain toed this preliminary resurrection by accepting crucifixion so Christ may live in them. The ruling priests are given back their bodies so they may govern the nations of the saved from the city of Jerusalem along with the Lord Jesus.

The first resurrection is only for the victorious saints—God’s true witnesses of every period of history. 

And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem. (Micah 4:8)

The kingdom shall be restored to the "tower of the flock."

Consider the following in which the mature of the Church are compared with the less mature "sisters." 

I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour. (Song of Solomon 8:10)

The types of the coming of the Lord, such as the events attending the attack by Gideon’s army of 300, show that the Lord Jesus will govern first with a small part of His elect. There also are other major types that portray the same concept, such as the separation of the Ark from the Tabernacle of the Congregation and the three anointings of King David.

The believers of today must be warned that the resurrection and ascension that will attend the return of the Lord Jesus from Heaven are for the blessed and holy members of the royal priesthood, not for the careless, lukewarm, neglectful, spiritually lazy members of the wealthy churches of today.

The rewards of rulership and closeness to God are for the victorious saints.

How we overcome. The victorious life is the normal Christian life. The overcomer is not a special kind of saint that has risen above the daily problems that most of us experience. All the promises of the New Testament are to the victorious, not to the defeated. God expects us to gain victory, through Christ, over the world, over the sin that dwells in us, and over our self-will and disobedience.

Each day contains a portion of evil we must overcome. The evil of the day may come as a surprise from some unlooked for place, or it may be part of an irritating or painful circumstance we have endured for a number of years.

The evil is a tool that is permitted to overtake us so we shall be changed into the image of Christ and also pressed into union with Him, learning complete dependence on Him.

There are several ways in which we can respond to the evil of the day.

We can view the evil as coming from the devil and attempt to drive it away by strong rebukes, using our own adamic faith.

We can become bitter, because the evil often comes at the hand of an individual—our husband or wife, a member of the church, our employer, or some other person. "If only they would not be this way!"

We can evade the evil by breaking God’s laws in order to insure our continued happiness.

None of these ways of responding will build up Christ in us or bring us into union with God.

The correct manner to respond to the evil of the day is to go to God in prayer, asking Him what we should do. We always ought to pray that God will remove the evil from us. If we do not we may suffer needlessly.

But as we pray we always are to submit to the Lord’s will.

Some are teaching that if we say "Thy will be done," we will not get an answer. We must attempt to force the answer by "faith."

This concept reveals an ignorance of God and His ways. We always are to pray Thy will be done.

As we look to the Lord in fervent prayer He may give us the assurance that the answer is coming speedily. Or He may give us the wisdom and strength to go through the trial.

God always hears and answers even though the answer may not be what we expect.

As we pray the Lord gives us His body and blood, the "hidden manna," so we will possess sufficient virtue to forgive all those who harm us; to cease fretting and always think about that which is pure and lovely; and to overcome every other dark force that would attempt to pull us down from our position in Christ at the right hand of the Father. Christ always helps us as we turn to Him.

When we overcome the evil of the day by turning to the Lord, Christ is formed in us. The adamic nature dies. We are pressed into union with Christ.

When we overcome the evil of the day we are an overcomer and eligible to receive all the promises to the overcomer.

Tomorrow is a new challenge to our peace and we must turn once again to the Lord for His Virtue, wisdom, and strength.

The Christian who is not praying and overcoming in this manner is not a victorious saint. He or she shall not receive the rewards to the overcomer. He or she is not worthy to walk in white with Christ in the robes of the royal priesthood. 

Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4)

What about the remainder of the believers of the church in Sardis? Are they not facing the terror of the Lord?

Steps to the first resurrection. The rewards to the overcomer, as set forth in the Book of Revelation, are steps to the first resurrection. They constitute a love letter to the Bride as Christ calls her out from the Christian churches on the earth.

The rewards begin with access to the tree of life and proceed to the throne of God and Christ, and finally to the inheriting of all that will be included in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. 

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Revelation 21:7)

The rewards of Revelation, Chapters Two and Three (the steps to the first resurrection from the dead) include the power of incorruptible life, crowns, authority, power, total deliverance from the authority of the Lake of Fire, eternal establishment as a pillar in the Temple of God, and other capacities and roles associated with the governing priesthood. These abilities and roles constitute, and will result in the manifestation of, the first resurrection from among the dead.

There are no promises to the defeated believer, only the inference that he will be barred from the tree of life, will not rule with the Lord, may be injured by the second death, and—worst of all—may be in danger of having his name removed from the book of life. 

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (Revelation 3:5)

It has been customary for pastors and teachers to rush to assure their followers that it is not possible to have one’s name blotted from the book of life. In this way the Christian leaders have subtracted from the words of the Book of Revelation. Unless they repent their names will be removed from the book of life and they will inherit none of the promises of the Book of Revelation. They will experience the terror of the Lord when they die.

When the God of Heaven gives a revelation to His Son and Heir, Christ, and in that revelation states the overcomer shall not have his name blotted from the book of life with the clear inference that all others are in danger of this dreadful fate, then there is a reason for this warning. In fact, there is a very good reason for this warning because God is not at all the person being presented by a great part of the Christian ministry of today.

When ministers of the Gospel remove the Divine warnings they are playing with fire—Divine fire. The Lord has departed from them because of their lack of faithfulness, and so they say to their followers, in so many words, "Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty." They lessen the demands of the Gospel so they may have "friends." The result is Christian churches full of believers having a false assurance of the favor of God. The Lord says the faithless ministers are wise to make friends in this manner because then they will have someone to receive them when they die (Luke 16:1-12).

Numerous believers have not borne the fruit of righteousness in their lives. They have not been taught to repent, to confess their sins, to walk in openness before God and man. They suppose God will say to them, "Well done, good and faithful servant." This is what they expect to hear when they die.

The truth is, they are facing terror—the terror of the Lord. 

But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. (Hebrews 6:8)

Do Christian people suppose that the above verse is written to the unsaved or to the Jews? The Book of Hebrews is a book of warning to God’s elect that it is not sufficient merely to begin to walk with Christ. The same confidence, the same daily trust in God, must persevere to the last moment on earth. If it does not, the believer is in danger of the burning wrath of God. The Book of Hebrews was written to seasoned, experienced Christians who were beginning to backslide.

We must pursue the "rest of God" every day of our discipleship. We must fear that after having been given the marvelous promises of God we then come short of the Divine rest. We must overcome all forces and things that would prevent our resting in the center of the Lord’s will. If we do we will attain to the first resurrection from the dead. 

If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [Greek, out-resurrection] of the dead. (Philippians 3:11)

The purpose of the first resurrection. The purpose of the first resurrection from the dead, the resurrection of the royal priesthood, is to change the occupants of the thrones located in the air above the earth. 

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (Ephesians 2:2)

"The ruler of the authority of the air."

The reason the royal priesthood is caught into the air to meet the Lord is that God’s priests, the brothers of Christ, are to be seated on the thrones presently occupied by the fallen dignitaries of the heavens. 

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (I Thessalonians 4:17)

"To meet the Lord in the air."

Earth’s multitudes will be forced to continue in their debauchery, in their howling agony, until the rebellious lords of the heavens are forced down from their thrones in the air and the Lord’s victorious saints assume those thrones. 

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: . . . . (Revelation 20:4)

But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. (Daniel 7:18)

The purpose of the first resurrection is not that the saints may go to Paradise to dwell in beautiful mansions but so the thrones that govern the creation may be occupied by holy people of the highest integrity—saints who obey God with great sternness and exactness.

No one else will be raised at the next coming of the Lord. To tell the lukewarm believers of today they are going to be raised from the dead, given glorious bodies of supreme power and ability, and then caught up to meet the Commander in Chief in Heaven so they may live in golden mansions is a cruel, unscriptural promise. Nothing of the kind shall ever take place. Tremendous disappointment, and in some cases intense terror, are ahead for the believers of today unless God sends us a revival of repentance.

We need to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, to rejoice with trembling, as the Scripture commands us.

What it means to be free from the authority of the second death. Every person who is raised in the first resurrection is no longer under the authority of the second death. 

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of [be harmed by] the second death. (Revelation 2:11)

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power [authority], but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)

The second death has no power over them.

The second death has authority over all wickedness. As long as wickedness remains in the personality of the believer, the second death has authority over that part of his or her personality.

Let us say we have a lying spirit, even though we are a Christian. The Lake of Fire, the second death, has authority over that spirit of lying. All liars are destined to have their part in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.

If through the Lord Jesus we are able to gain total victory over lying, the Lord forgiving us and cleansing us from all unrighteousness, then the second death no longer possesses authority over that part of our personality.

As long as one behavior concerning which God has given authority to the Lake of Fire remains in us, then we can be hurt by the second death.

The members of the royal priesthood, those who attain to the first resurrection from the dead, have gained victory through the Lord Jesus over the wickedness in their personality. Therefore they are eligible to be raised from the dead, clothed in glory, raised to meet the Lord in the air and be with Him for eternity, and return with Him to Jerusalem to govern the nations of saved peoples of the earth.

The believers who have not been faithful in cooperating with the Holy Spirit in the work of judgment of their personalities are not eligible to be raised from the dead when the Lord appears, to be clothed in glory, to be raised to meet the Lord in the air and be with Him for eternity, or to return with Him to Jerusalem to govern the nations of saved peoples of the earth. It is as specific as this.

If we are willing to work with the Holy Spirit in the judgment of our personality, it is possible to finish that work while yet in our body on the earth. Then, when the Lord appears, our sentence is to be raised in glory and to be with Him for eternity. If we are not willing to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the process of judgment, then we will be judged at His appearing and His Kingdom. We shall receive the good we have done and the evil we have done.

For those believers who have ignored the call of God upon their life, who have left their family to marry another, who have harmed the Kingdom with their selfish, bitter, rebellious attitude and actions, who have lived a halfhearted, lukewarm Christian life, physical death will bring terror they cannot imagine in the present hour.

They may cry and insist God loves them too much to allow them to suffer, but it will be to no avail. They may justify themselves today, as did the Pharisees of Jesus’ time, but when they die they shall experience terror! They shall be shown what could have been true had they been faithful, and now must be accounted as eternal loss for them and for those for whom they were responsible.

There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, not only on the part of the heathen but on the part of the Lord’s elect—a weeping over opportunities forever lost; an agonizing because of people who remained ignorant of the Gospel, who could have been fine fruit for the Lord’s table had it not been for the laziness, neglect, and disobedience of the Lord’s servant.

Every believer shall be shown clearly and in detail the opportunities he had and the results of his choices. That shall be a time of the most extravagant rejoicing or the most piercing remorse and terror. 

His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:26-30)

These words are not addressed to the unbelievers or the Jews but to the Lord’s servants, the Christians.

If we repent and seek the Lord, He will come to us and help us get back on the path that leads to eternal life. But if we do not, and continue in our carefree, presumptuous, arrogant apathy, we are facing the terror of the Lord.

The Goal of God—People Who Behave Righteously, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to practice righteousness, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8)

Both the Judaic and Christian religions have preferred their religious beliefs and practices over the Lord’s desire, which is that people behave righteously, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

We do always err in our heart.

It is time for judgment to begin in the household of God. After the saints themselves have been judged they will judge the remainder of the creation of God. 

Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? (I Corinthians 6:2,3)

God’s wrath is upon man because of man’s behavior. God desires that people be loving, kind, peacemakers, joyous, patient, gentle, good, faithful, teachable, and self-controlled. Instead people are hateful, merciless, arrogant, troublemakers, selfish, bitter, impatient, grasping, harsh, workers of evil, faithless, hardhearted, and given to lust, perversion, and drunkenness.

If we are hateful toward people we will suffer for it.

If we are merciless we will suffer for it.

If we are arrogant we will suffer for it.

If we are a troublemaker we will suffer for it at the beema of Christ.

If we are selfish we will suffer for it. The rich man entered Hell after his death, not because he had rejected Christ or committed adultery but because he was selfish.

If we are bitter we will suffer for it.

If we are impatient we will suffer for it.

If we are grasping we will suffer for it.

If we are harsh, a worker of evil, faithless, hardhearted, we will suffer for it.

If we are given to lust, perversion, or drunkenness we will suffer for it.

If through the Lord Jesus Christ we repent, confess our sin, and seek the Lord’s forgiveness and the power to overcome our sin, God is faithful and righteous to forgive our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We then are on our way toward the first resurrection from the dead.

But if we choose to believe the current "gospel" that teaches we will hear well done good and faithful servant even though we have been neither good nor faithful, and do not walk in continual confession and repentance as the Holy Spirit guides us, then we are facing the fire of God.

We may experience the Divine fire in this life. We may die and face the fire in the next life. 

For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. (I Corinthians 11:30)

Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after. (I Timothy 5:24).

The idea that we can walk with God by a kind of magic, that is, we can continue in our untransformed state and God will see us only through Christ, is not true.

This is what is taught. But is it actually true that when a believer fornicates God sees only the purity of Christ? We need to consider carefully what we truly believe! 

It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. (I Corinthians 5:1)

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. (I Corinthians 6:18)

Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. (I Corinthians 10:8)

And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness [immorality] which they have committed. (II Corinthians 12:21)

And so on and on and on.

If this is the case with fornication, is it not true of all other sins? And if it is true that Christians are to avoid fornication and all other sins, is it not then true that the present doctrine that God sees us only through Christ is utterly false and morally destructive? Are we saved "by faith alone," meaning that if we subscribe to the correct doctrine our behavior does not really matter? It is the change in our personality through Christ that is salvation.

Will we repent or will we keep on courting the terror of the Lord?

Numerous sincere, selfless, courageous people of our day have left the comforts of their home and traveled to remote areas in order to bring the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to the heathen. The desire of these self-sacrificing individuals is that the heathen will go to Heaven instead of to Hell when they die.

But the current pressures and expectations soon may draw the missionary into the construction of churches. He or she may attempt to do that which only the Lord Jesus can do properly, which is to add to the churches such as should be saved, and may not pursue the missionary’s actual responsibility, which is to make disciples.

Instead of building saints he may find himself building a church. Instead of godly behavior, the numbers in attendance may become the measure of success.

Instead of a ringing call to repentance there may be an invitation to lead a successful life by inviting Jesus as a partner, to obtain His assistance as one pursues his own interests.

There may not always be the change from hate to love; from bitterness to joy; from trouble making to peace.

In the instance where the people are not changed but only added to the church or the denomination there has been no salvation from Hell. Hell always claims the hateful, the bitter, the troublemaker.

The current gospel in many instances is not producing the Kingdom of God but only the empire of man.

There are harsh warnings in the New Testament directed toward the Christian assemblies: 

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:5)

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (I Timothy 6:10)

Notice that the individuals have "erred from the faith," that is, they at one time had been believers but then began to covet money—like Ananias and Sapphira. 

And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: (II Peter 2:13,14)

The above is referring to people who were joining in the activities of the saints. Sometimes commentators, in their effort to prove that no Christian need fear the terror of the Lord, state that such sinners never were true Christians. On what basis do the commentators make this conclusion? The commentators judge these church attenders by their behavior. Thus the commentators establish our thesis that true Christianity consists of righteous works, and where there is unrighteous behavior there is no evidence of salvation. 

Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. (Jude 1:11)

Jude is speaking of "certain men" who had entered the assembling of the saints, people who sought to turn the grace of God into animal lust.

They are facing—THE TERROR OF THE LORD!

FROM JUSTIFICATION TO GLORIFICATION 

The Purpose of God

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

"To them who are the called according to his purpose."

"His purpose."

God has a purpose, a plan, a method, an objective. If there is an area of greater confusion in Christian thinking than that of God’s eternal purpose we do not know of it.

According to current thinking, the purpose of God is to bring us to Heaven when we die. However, this objective is not found in the Old Testament or the New Testament.

The scriptural purpose of God is set forth as follows: 

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be changed into the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)

"To be changed into the image of his Son."

"That he might be the firstborn among many brethren."

It is clear from the Scriptures that some people of earth’s population were known of God in advance of their lifetime. No doubt it is true that God knows about everyone before he is born. But it appears that specific individuals were predestined to be changed into the image of the Lord Jesus and to be His brothers.

We see this concept of election in several places in the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John: 

As thou hast given him power [authority] over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. (John 17:2)

I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. (John 17:6)

The people that were known in advance of God were predestined to be glorified together with the Lord Jesus. 

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: (John 17:22)

God causes all things of the creation to work together for the good of those whom God foreknew and predestined to be changed into the image of His Son, and to be glorified together with His Son in the eyes of the world. This is Israel, God’s elect.

That the elect were predestined to be glorified with Christ does not mean that their glorification is an accomplished fact or that their destiny will be fulfilled whether or not they respond to their calling. There is no place in the redemptive processes for an attitude of inevitability on the part of God’s elect. We must grasp that for which we have been grasped.

God makes sovereign declarations concerning us. However, every aspect of salvation is an opportunity. Whether we gain the Divine Glory depends on the decisions we make.

God’s covenants always require our continuing response. If the wicked individual forsakes his wicked behavior and turns to righteousness, his wickedness will not be held against him by the Lord. If the righteous person forsakes his righteous behavior and begins to practice wickedness, his prior righteousness will not save him in the day of judgment.

We always and continually must be laboring to insure our election is not rendered invalid by our behavior. 

Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: (II Peter 1:10)

It is possible for a member of God’s elect to "fall." 

Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (Romans 8:30)

"Them he also called." For each of the elect there comes a time in his or her life when he or she is made aware of Calvary. The individual becomes conscious of the blood atonement. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin and leads to the Lamb of God. The person receives the authority to be a child of God on the basis of accepting the Sin-offering God has provided.

"Whom he called, them he also justified." The elect were justified from the creation of the world. God chose them to belong to Himself in a special way. He declared them to be righteous in His sight—acceptable and pleasing to Him before they had done good or evil.

"Whom He justified, them he also glorified." The elect are destined to have Christ formed in them, resulting in the transformation of their moral nature. They are to be trained in the ways and knowledge of the Lord. If they are faithful in obeying the words of the Lord Jesus, the Father and the Son will make Their eternal abode in their transformed inner nature.

God’s elect will be so anointed with the Holy Spirit that their presence will bring Divine life to all of God’s creatures. God will adopt their mortal bodies by changing their bodies from mortality into immortality. When the Lord Jesus Christ appears in the Glory of the Father, the elect, the brothers of Christ, will appear with Him in the fullness of that same Glory.

This is what it means for the elect to be glorified.

In the eternal vision of God the elect have been foreknown, predestined, called, and justified. These are sovereign acts of almighty God. None of them causes an actual behavioral change in the individual.

God foreknew the person. This did not change the individual nor did it require a response on his part.

God predestined the person. This did not change the individual nor did it require a response on his part.

God called the person. This did not change the individual but he must decide whether or not to respond to the call.

God justified the person. This did not change the individual but he must accept Christ in order to be justified.

However, to pass from justification to glorification requires the total transformation of the one whom God has called, and diligent application to the program of redemption if the Divine election is not to be aborted.

The Scriptures describe God’s role and our role in creating the brothers of Christ. When we overemphasize God’s role and minimize our role we have a plan of salvation that is unconditional, not affected significantly by the response of the believer. To view Divine grace as unconditional, an eternal amnesty that remains in effect apart from diligent effort on the part of the recipient, is an error of great magnitude.

From Justification to Glorification

Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (Romans 8:30)

"Whom he justified, them he also glorified."

How do we go from justification to glorification? Is there a Divine program that brings us from justification to glorification, or is glorification imputed (ascribed) to us? Are justification and glorification sovereignly imposed states given to us apart from any significant effort on our part?

"It is all by grace!" many preachers of today cry. "Jesus did it all! Settle back and enjoy the free ride. Nothing is required of you. Agree with our doctrine and nothing can prevent your entering Paradise when you die. He became poor in money so you would be rich in money. He suffered so you will never have to suffer. You forever will be an unworthy sinner who perpetually is accepted of God on the basis of imputed (ascribed) righteousness."

That this wrenching of the Scriptures has gained the ground that it has is a sad commentary on the self-love of the present generation of human beings and also on the lack of prayer and consecration of the believers.

It seems that not enough thought has gone into the consequences of such a position. Would we want to be part of a "holy" city that was holy by assigned righteousness?—the people were still worldly, lustful, and self-seeking but justified by their identification with Christ?

We know that ascribed righteousness is a temporary device because the eternal purpose of God is stated as our change into the image of Christ. God did not predestine us to be forever unrighteous and accepted "by grace" but to be changed into the very likeness of Christ in every element of our personality.

As we proceed in this booklet we shall speak of the process of moving from justification to glorification. We believe there is widespread ignorance of the necessity for such a move and of the actual Divine process that accomplishes the move.

Justification. While there were instances of God justifying people under previous covenants, the justification contained in the new covenant is of a much superior kind.

For God to justify someone is to declare that person acceptable to God. No matter what type of personality the individual has or what he has done, God has declared him acceptable. His sins are forgiven. He is authorized to participate in the Kingdom of God. 

Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, (Romans 4:6)

Under the old covenant the forgiveness of sins was available through the offering of animals. The blood, the life of the innocent animals, was offered in place of the life of the sinning human being. The blood served to appease the wrath of God. The blood provided an atonement, a covering, so that God was able to accept the worshiper.

The forgiveness of the new covenant is as superior to the forgiveness of the old covenant as the Person of the Lord Jesus is superior to a bull or goat. There indeed is a tremendous difference in quality.

The blood of bulls and goats could serve only to defer the wrath of God until the next offering. But the blood of Christ put an end to the guilt of sin for all time. The perfect, total atonement has been made. God’s wrath has been appeased concerning the sin and rebellion of mankind. If the worshiper continues walking in Christ his conscience can be completely free from all guilt and condemnation. Through the one offering of Calvary the believer remains guiltless forever.

This total, complete appeasing of the wrath of God, and the resulting perfect justification of whoever chooses to receive the Divine atonement, is the foundation of the redemption that is in Christ. Nothing can be added to this complete atonement or removed from it. The sin-offering is perfect forever, awaiting each individual who chooses to believe and receive.

God in this manner declares His elect to be righteous in His sight.

It is a marvel that Saul of Tarsus, so steeped in the Law of Moses, was able to look up from the scroll of the Torah and accept the righteousness that comes only from faith and trust in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (Romans 4:5)

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [appeasement] through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (Romans 3:25)

Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (Romans 5:9)

The day when God would accept the blood of animals as an atonement for sin ended when Christ was crucified. No person, young or old, male or female, rich or poor, of whatever nationality, can approach God and be accepted of God other than through the blood offering made by Christ on the cross.

The most righteous individual must come and receive the Divine pardon. The most wretched sinner, the perpetrator of deeds so foul they are not to be mentioned, can come and be forgiven freely because of the Divine Virtue in the blood of Christ.

There is a fountain opened to the House of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem (and to believing Gentiles) for sin and for uncleanness. Blessed is the person who receives the atonement. Woe to that individual who spurns the love of God in Christ! He shall answer for his sins, and the penalty is eternal separation from God.

The first part of the Day of Atonement included the offering of the blood of a goat on behalf of the sins of the congregation. 

Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: (Leviticus 16:15)

Whom God called God justified. God justified His elect with the blood of the righteous Jesus. No finger of accusation can be raised against those whom God has justified.

God said, "The soul that sins shall die." This is an eternal warning. All the peoples of the earth are spiritually dead because all have sinned. Those who receive the Lord Jesus have access to eternal life because the Lord Jesus died in their stead.

This is the Divine justification and it is the foundation of the Divine redemption.

It appears that in numerous instances this is as far as contemporary teaching takes us. The Christian Gospel has been changed from the coming of the Kingdom of God to establish God’s will on the earth to a "grace" of forgiveness that insures the sinner’s entrance into the spiritual Paradise upon his death.

If this were the true Gospel of the Kingdom of God, the new covenant would not be as effective as the old in terms of God’s desire for righteous people, because the old covenant included the forgiveness of sins and also insisted on righteous behavior. By removing the requirement for righteous behavior the we have created a salvation that is ineffective in view of God’s stated purpose to conform the elect to the image of Christ.

The second goat. We have spoken of the goat that was offered for the sins of the people on the Day of Atonement.

There was a second goat that was offered as an inseparable part of the sin offering. 

And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. (Leviticus 16:5)

"Two kids of the goats for a sin offering."

The fact that there was a second goat invalidates the current concept of the Divine atonement for sin, the concept that there is little or no deliverance, only forgiveness.

The blood of the second goat was not shed; therefore the goat was not used to appease the wrath of God. However, it was part of the sin offering. The use of the second goat as a sin offering was made authentic by the offering of the blood of the first goat. 

And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: (Leviticus 16:21)

Little imagination is required to see that while the first goat portrayed the appeasing of Divine wrath by innocent blood, the second goat spoke of the removal of the presence of sin itself; that is, of deliverance from sin.

Forgiveness by the first goat; deliverance by the second goat.

It is of the greatest importance to remember that the Christian redemption consists of both forgiveness of sin and deliverance from sin, and the deliverance is made possible by the forgiveness. Both are absolutely necessary in the Kingdom of God, Both are absolutely necessary if we are to fulfill God’s purpose that we be changed into the image of Christ. Both are absolutely necessary if we are to be glorified.

Deliverance from sin. If the Christian salvation includes deliverance from sin, as well as forgiveness, when and how does such deliverance take place.

Deliverance from sin is the salvation promised for the last days. We think that we are in the last days now and that the promised redemption is beginning.

Notice carefully the following passages in terms of the preceding paragraph: 

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. (Romans 13:11)

"Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed."

Paul is speaking here of the salvation that is deliverance from sin, the salvation of the second goat of the Day of Atonement. 

Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:5)

"Salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."

We are being kept today by God’s power in view of a salvation (deliverance from sin) that is to be revealed in the "last time."

What is this last-day salvation? It is none other than the spiritual fulfillment of the second goat, that is, the removing of sin from God’s people. 

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)

"So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many." This is the first goat of the Day of Atonement.

"Without sin unto salvation." This is the second goat.

"Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time."

This is when the deliverance will take place. It will take place at a second appearing to those that look for Christ. We know that Hebrews 9:28 is not referring to the second coming of the Lord because at His second coming every eye shall see Him, not just those who are looking for Him. 

Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. (Revelation 1:7)

We know from the Scriptures that part of the sin offering is the removal of sin from God’s elect, that this "salvation" will take place in the last days, that it is an appearing of the Lord, and that it will come to those who are looking for Christ. Does the Old Testament teach that sin will be removed from God’s people? If so, under what circumstances? 

When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. (Isaiah 4:4)

The above passage describes an actual removal of sin from the Lord’s people—not just a forgiveness but an actual removal.

The removal is accomplished "by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning."

Other passages say much the same thing. 

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. (Zechariah 13:9)

But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s (a launderer’s) soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. (Malachi 3:2,3)

John the Baptist may have been referring to Malachi 3:3 when he proclaimed: 

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is more powerful than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: (Matthew 3:11)

"He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire."

John was describing the removal of sin from the Lord’s elect: 

Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:12)

"He will throughly purge his floor."

Other passages suggesting an actual removal of sin from the elect are as follows: 

And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. (Zechariah 3:4)

And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. (Revelation 6:11)

The "white robe" of the Scripture speaks of the holiness of the personality and behavior of the royal priesthood. Perhaps this white robe is the glorified body that will be given to the martyrs just before the return of the Lord. 

And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness [righteous deeds] of saints. (Revelation 19:8)

No one will ride behind the Lord Jesus whose robe is spotted with the works of sin and self-will.

The Lord Jesus did not come to forgive the works of Satan but to destroy their power and remove them. 

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. (I John 3:8)

We are in the power of Satan until the Lord Jesus destroys Satan’s works in us.

But does the New Testament state that the new covenant results in our deliverance from sin? Yes. As part of the normal Christian walk, and then as a redemption that shall come in the last days. 

Which is the earnest [pledge] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:14)

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

We have been "sealed unto the day of redemption." The day of redemption will begin in the last days as God purifies His elect with a baptism of fire. The redemption will be consummated at the appearing of the Lord Jesus as God adopts the mortal bodies of the saints by removing mortality from them and clothing them with immortality. 

And not only they [the material creation], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)

How does God deliver us from sin in the present hour? By the power of the law of the Spirit of life. 

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)

As we walk in the power of the law of the Spirit of life He gives us daily victory over the sins of the flesh. 

For if ye live in the appetites of the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)

We have deliverance today as we await the fiery baptism of the last days. If we are faithful in walking in the Spirit today, then, when the Lord appears, we will experience the alteration of our mortal body from flesh-and-blood life to Holy-Spirit life.

The first step in moving from justification to glorification is deliverance from sin. Both testaments state clearly that the new covenant of God with His people will include not only the forgiveness of Isaiah, Chapter 53 but also the purification of Malachi, Chapter Three.

Change. The second step in moving from assigned righteousness to actual change into the image of Christ is the change that occurs in our personality as the gold of Christ is formed in us and then hammered into shape and refined through suffering. 

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (II Corinthians 3:18)

Here is the change into the image of Christ, mentioned in Romans 8:29.

Change into Christ’s image occurs in us as we see His Glory in the written Word, in personal revelation, in the gifts and ministries of others as well our own gifts, and in all other places where we behold the Divine Glory.

Just as Moses was changed as a result of standing in the Divine Presence, so we are changed as we are exposed to the Presence of Christ.

Change into Christ’s image takes place in us as Christ is formed and grows in us. 

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)

Christ in us is planted as a Seed, the Seed of the Kingdom. We must turn the prime energies and attention of our life to insuring that the Seed is taken care of properly. We know from the parable of the sower that a shallow experience with Christ or the cares of this world can prevent the Divine Seed from bearing lasting fruit.

The greatest fact of the new covenant is that Christ, the Seed, the living Word, is actually conceived in us. Then the ministries of the Body of Christ are to travail until the Seed brings forth Christ in us, the hope of the glory to come in the last days.

Deliverance from sin and the forming of Christ in us are important aspects of our journey from justification to glorification, from imputed (ascribed) righteousness to the moral image of Christ.

It is true also that change into Christ’s image occurs in us as the Divine gold in us is purified through suffering. 

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: (I Peter 1:7)

Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; (I Peter 4:1)

The Divine chastisement is administered to us so we may partake of God’s holy nature, so we may enjoy the peaceable fruit of righteousness. Suffering prepares us to be revealed in glory with the Lord Jesus.

The sufferings we experience in Christ are a judgment on the sins of our flesh and are a necessary part of the process of salvation. It is through suffering that we are made worthy of the Kingdom of God. 

So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: (II Thessalonians 1:4,5)

Change into Christ’s image takes place in our personality as through experience we learn the ways of God and become totally obedient. The golden Lampstand of the Tabernacle of the Congregation was hammered into shape from a talent of refined gold. The Lampstand could have been cast from a mold (a skill the Israelites possessed because of their experience in Egypt) in a fraction of the time required to hammer it into shape.

The gold was refined and then hammered into the shape of the Lampstand. So it is that the gold of Christ is purified through our suffering and then "hammered" into shape by the buffeting we endure as we make our way through the wilderness of the present age. We are members of the Divine Lampstand, Christ of God.

It is the constant tribulations we suffer that make it possible for the resurrection Life of Christ to be revealed to those to whom the Lord directs us. 

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. (II Corinthians 4:11)

Being filled with the fullness of God. Another aspect of our journey from justification to glorification is brought about by the filling of our changed and refined inner nature with the fullness of God. 

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)

God the Father will dwell only in Christ. As God’s Spirit forms Christ in us we are ready and able to receive more of God. The goal is to bring us to the place where Christ has been formed to full stature within us. God then will be able to abide in us in His fullness. 

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

Complete preparation for glorification includes the dwelling of the Father and the Son in our transformed inner nature. We arrive at the fullness of God as we keep the words of Christ, treasuring them, meditating on them, continually confessing our shortcomings and seeking to obey the admonitions of the Scriptures as God sends help to us from the Most Holy Place in the heavenlies.

Complete oneness with God through Christ. Union with God through Christ is much the same concept as being filled with the fullness of God, except that by considering union separately we are stressing our voluntary reconciliation to God’s Person, thoughts, desires, ways, and objectives. It is one matter to have Christ formed in us. A second consideration is that of the Father and Christ through the Holy Spirit dwelling in our transformed inner nature.

Yet a third subject of concern is our full reconciliation, cooperation, compliance, and joy in flowing with the will of God. The greatest rest, the greatest joy, and the greatest peace come to us when our total desire is in complete, perfect harmony with the total desire of God; when everything found in us is found in God and nothing found in us is not found in God.

Here is the desired objective—complete, perfect oneness with God through Christ, total joy, total rest, total love. 

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:21-23)

We must learn to live by Christ as He lives by the Father. As we eat His flesh and drink His blood there is a change of life force within us. We pass from natural life to life lived in the Presence and will of God. This is true eternal life and greatly to be desired. It is as high above the adamic animal life as the heavens are high above the earth. 

As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:57)

We have entered fully into the following:

Deliverance from sin.

Change.

Being filled with the fullness of God.

Complete oneness with God through Christ.

Now we are prepared for glorification at the side of, together with, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Glorification

The Lord Jesus Christ always is glorified together with the Father. As the Father is glorified (lifted up in glory and preeminence) the Lord Jesus is glorified. 

And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self [together with Yourself; in Your Presence] with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. (John 17:5)

It is the Lord’s will that His Church be glorified together with Him, in His Presence, just as Christ is glorified together with the Father. 

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: (John 17:22)

We are to appear with Christ to the world as an eternally incorruptible, integral part of His Divine Glory. 

When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)

The glory of the thousand-year Kingdom Age will be revealed to the world through the saints. 

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)

When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. (II Thessalonians 1:10)

"The glory which shall be revealed in us." "When he shall come to be glorified in his saints."

We are justified, delivered from sin, changed, filled with the fullness of God, and brought into restful union with God to the end we may be glorified together with Christ as His brothers.

The sons of God shall be revealed in glory, and that Divine glory will release the material creation from the bondage of futility and corruption. 

Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:21)

Our inner nature is to be filled with the Presence of God in Christ. The change from the animal to the Divine is taking place today. The Divine Glory being prepared in us now will be revealed to the world at the coming of Christ.

The glory is hidden in our flesh-and-blood, sin-oppressed body. 

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (II Corinthians 4:7).

The light in the jars of Gideon’s army was revealed when the jars were broken. In the Day of the Lord our animal body will be "broken" and then swallowed up by a body of such power and life that all resistance to the will of Christ in us shall be swept away. 

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (I John 3:2)

"We shall be like Him."

Our mortal body will be adopted by the Lord. By His unlimited power He will transform our body until it resembles His glorious body. 

Who shall change our vile body [the body of our humbling], that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Philippians 3:21)

God knew us by name from the beginning of the creation. He predestined us to be changed into the image of Christ so that Christ might be the Firstborn among many brothers—brothers who, although not as great in glory, rank, authority, or power as He, nonetheless have been born of God.

The Only Begotten has become the First Begotten. We, Christ’s brothers, have learned obedience through suffering just as He did. We have carried our cross through this world as He did. We have shared His power and His sufferings. We have suffered that we may be glorified together with Him. Through Him we have overcome the world just as He did.

We stated before that the foreknowledge of God was a sovereign action of God. No action on our part was required and there was no change in us.

The same was true of predestination. No action on our part was required and there was no change in us.

Our calling produces no change in us but we are required to respond to the Divine summons.

God has justified His elect. Being declared righteous by the blood of Calvary represents no change in us; it is a legal maneuver that enables God to hear our prayers and give us eternal life even though our behavior is not in accordance with the eternal moral law of God. We must by faith receive the Divine offer of reconciliation. 

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (II Corinthians 5:20,21)

"Be ye reconciled to God."

However, passing from justification to glorification necessitates total change in us, as we have described and requires diligent participation on our part.

If we will follow the Lord conscientiously He will bring us from the lowest pit to the highest throne. Ours is a truly great salvation. 

Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)

It is God’s will and objective that there be a perfect Church, a mature Body of Christ, an unblemished Bride of the Lamb—victorious sons who will be able to assume the rulership of the creation. These are the heirs of God, of whom Christ is the Lord and the Firstfruits that in all things He might have the preeminence.

We have been foreknown, predestined, called, and justified in order that we may then, through the authority of the Lord Jesus and the power of the Spirit of God, fight the good fight of faith until we attain glorification in Christ.

To pass from justification to glorification requires running a race. Running the race to glorification requires more concentration and dedication than is true of the runners of the Olympic games. We must devote every aspect and ability of our personality. We must present our body to God a living sacrifice that we may prove His will.

God has given us every grace, every virtue, all the authority, power, and wisdom needed to insure success as we overcome every hindrance to our rule. Only one factor can prevent our being more than a conqueror through Christ, and that is our own unbelief.

Let us now lay aside every weight, every hindrance, and run with patience the race set before us. If we do, the day finally shall arrive when we are ready to be glorified together with the Lord Jesus at His appearing in His Kingdom.

SAVED BY FAITH ALONE?

Introduction

When we tell people today that righteous behavior is an essential aspect of the Christian redemption, that apart from good works there is no salvation, we are accused of preaching "works."

Obviously, something is amiss in Christian thinking; for it is clear that the emphasis of the New Testament writings is on the practice of righteous behavior. In fact, the purpose of our redemption is that we might perform good works. 

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

"Created in Christ unto good works."

God has created us in Christ in order that we may behave righteously. The goal of both the Law of Moses and the grace of Christ is people who behave in a righteous, holy, and obedient manner, a manner preordained by the Lord..

What is wrong with our thinking and preaching? The churches of today are not beacon lights of godly behavior! One would think from what is being taught that while godly behavior is desirable, no one really expects it of the believers. What has happened to the salvation preached by the Lord Jesus and the Apostles of the Lamb? 

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

Because the good works often are missing from the Christian churches the world is not glorifying God. The good works are missing from the Christian churches because many influential theologians understand the Apostle Paul to mean Divine grace is an alternative to godly behavior, that we no longer please God by godly behavior.

We should have understood that Paul was not contrasting Divine grace and righteous behavior. Paul proclaimed many times that the believer who behaves unrighteously shall not inherit the Kingdom of God, that he shall die spiritually. 

Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:21)

For if ye live in the appetites of the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

Paul’s attitude toward the practice of incest in Corinth should have alerted us that he was not presenting Divine grace as an alternative to godly behavior. 

To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (I Corinthians 5:5)

Justification by belief. Paul based his argument against the Orthodox Jews on the fact that God justified Abraham by his faith in the promise of God. 

And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (Genesis 15:6)

This, however, was not the end of God’s dealings with Abraham. God required a perfect moral life of the patriarch. 

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. (Genesis 17:1)

Neither was this the end of God’s dealings with Abraham. God demanded total obedience from the father of all who believe. 

And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. (Genesis 22:2)

Abraham was justified when he believed the promise of God.

Abraham was justified when he walked before God with a perfect heart.

Abraham was justified by works of obedience when he offered up Isaac to the Lord. 

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? (James 2:21)

He who comes to the Lord for salvation must believe in the Lord Jesus and be baptized into His name. He must confess Jesus as Lord and believe in his heart that God has raised Jesus from the dead. Such behavior brings righteousness and salvation. 

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:16)

He who comes to the Lord for salvation must live in a righteous, holy manner. Righteous, holy behavior results in eternal life. 

And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; . . . . (John 5:29)

To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: (Romans 2:7)

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. (Romans 6:22)

The outcome, the result, of slavery to God, of choosing righteousness and holiness, is eternal life.

He who comes to the Lord for salvation must be ready to obey God sternly no matter what God demands. Such obedience brings fruitfulness and rulership.

Would Abraham have continued to be justified if he had refused to offer up Isaac when the Lord demanded the boy? What is your opinion? If we are going to base our belief in justification by faith on the actions of Abraham then we need to include the whole life of Abraham. We cannot take one incident in Abraham’s life and from this conclude how a righteous person is to respond to the Lord!

It is not scriptural to say we are justified by faith alone. It is only as faith is made perfect in works that we are redeemed. We think the Apostle Paul would give his Amen to this. 

Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? (James 2:22)

Romans 10:9,10. 

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9,10)

Romans 10:9,10 is a passage used frequently to support the position that the Christian redemption consists primarily of belief and a spoken confession of faith.

We know from the remainder of Paul’s writings that there is much more to redemption than belief and confession. How, then, do we explain Romans 10:9,10?

Perhaps many of us have had the experience of making a statement that someone called into question. Our response may have been that we cannot tell the whole story in one sentence. A statement we made when stressing one particular point may need considerable explanation before the listener is able to grasp our meaning.

This obviously is true of Romans 10:9,10 and other passages that unwisely are used as "key verses." We ought to attempt to detect the apostolic line of thought rather than to approach the writings of Paul in the "key verse," "promise box," superstitious manner.

The Epistle of Paul to the Romans, as is true also of the Book of Galatians, is an argument against Orthodox Jews who were clinging to the Law of Moses while considering the claims of Christ. Paul is emphasizing that the Lord Jesus, not Moses, is the author of eternal salvation. It is not as we practice the Law of Moses that we are saved, it is as we turn in faith toward Jesus, acknowledging Him as Lord of all and believing that God has raised Him from the dead.

It is not the belief and confession that constitute salvation. If that were true there would be no new righteous creation. It is not that the belief and confession are salvation, it is that if we believe and confess we shall be saved. Confessing the Lordship of Christ and believing in our heart that God has raised Him from the dead orients us correctly toward God and authorizes us to enter the program of redemption from the chains of Satan.

Another example of not being able to tell the whole story in one sentence occurs in the Book of Acts. 

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)

An entire Christian denomination has been built on this verse, a denomination that would compel every believer to be baptized into Jesus’ name alone, not including the Father and the Holy Spirit. This denomination goes on to state that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all the same Person. If the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all the same Person, then many of the incidents and statements in the four Gospels are an empty show, including the agonized prayer of the Lord in Gethsemane.

Peter was not introducing a new formula for water baptism, a formula different from that given by the risen Lord Jesus. He was speaking to people who knew about John’s baptism and was emphasizing that now we are to be baptized in Jesus’ name. Peter was stressing the Lordship and Divinity of Christ.

A major principle of Scripture interpretation is that every attempt must be made to gain the sense of a passage by examining all the author has to say on the subject. To choose "key verses" and use them to support our topical outline is not a sound approach to preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. But it is the prevailing practice.

The Apostle Paul in his protests against the Orthodox Jews stressed grace and faith as distinguished from obedience to the Law of Moses. The other writers of the New Testament emphasized righteousness of behavior. 

But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:14)

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:22)

But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation [in all your behavior]; (I Peter 1:15)

Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. (I John 3:7)

To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. (Jude 1:15)

Notice, in Jude above, that the judgment is upon those of the churches who have practiced ungodly deeds and have spoken harsh words against the Lord. No reference is made to their lack of belief in the Lordship of Christ or His triumphant resurrection.

The viewpoint today is that while the Apostles indeed did exhort us to righteous behavior, in the final sense we are saved by the unconditional favor of God whether or not we obey the Apostles. This belief removes all strength and urgency from the commandments of the Apostles of Christ.

Because the current teaching of "grace" often neglects initial repentance and then the necessity for the transforming aspect of redemption, it is an error that has destroyed the testimony of the Christian churches. Those who are propagating this error must repent and preach the truth or their talent shall be taken from them and given to another. The blood of the guilty will be on their hands because they did not warn God’s people concerning their sins against God.

The new covenant. 

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inner parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:33)

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (Hebrews 8:10)

It is fashionable to state we no longer are under any law now that grace has appeared. But such a doctrine is opposed to the true nature of the new covenant. The new covenant did not abolish the eternal law of God, it established it.

To lift the Law of Moses from the tables of stone and write them in the mind and heart is not an abolishing of the Law. Rather it is an infinite strengthening of the moral intent of the Law of Moses.

It is true that the Ten Commandments and the Levitical statutes are not a mature representation of the eternal moral law of God, and do not produce the desired result because they make demands on our evil adamic nature that our old nature is not able to fulfill.

But to then teach that God has discarded the moral law in favor of a plan that receives and blesses people who are walking in lawlessness is to misunderstand the new covenant. 

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. (II Corinthians 6:17)

A spirit of falsehood pervades Christian thinking. It is time now for the God of Heaven to execute judgment on this error and to remove it from the presence of mankind forever.

Entrance into the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus removes us totally from the authority of the Law of Moses. Then the eternal moral law of God is born in us in the Person of Christ. Command upon command, rule upon rule, a little here and a little there, the law of God replaces the body of sin that resides in our personality. If the process is not aborted by our lack of faith and obedience, the end result will be a person who thinks, speaks, and acts in the eternal law of God.

The new covenant is not a replacement of the law of God. The new covenant is the creation of the law in our personality. This is a completely different concept from the doctrine that new-covenant grace is an alternative to righteous behavior. Apart from righteous, holy, obedient behavior there is no operation of the new covenant, the covenant that is the moral law engraved for eternity in the human personality.

If we Gentiles would understand Divine grace and the new covenant we must consider Paul’s thinking, his attitude toward the Christian redemption.

Before we begin to examine Paul’s attitude toward the Christian salvation, let us redefine some commonly employed terms, giving them definitions that are in line with their usage in the New Testament.

Definition of Biblical Terms

Righteousness. Righteousness always means that which is acceptable and pleasing to God. God desires that people treat other people as they would be treated themselves, not lying or stealing or causing harm to another. God regards highly a truthful, upright individual who walks in integrity. 

But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. (Acts 10:35)

Christians, in their haste to impress people with the fact that there is no salvation other than that found in Christ, have taken a few passages of Scripture in isolation from their contexts and declared that no righteous person has ever lived. The truth is, there have been and yet are numerous righteous people, including Jews, heathen, and Christians. 

For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. (Psalms 1:6)

Holiness is closely associated with righteousness, although holiness has more to do with our closeness to God. To be holy is to belong to God for His unique purposes and to be free from unclean spirits. In its purest sense holiness, as is true also of righteousness, is the Presence of God in Christ.

When we first receive Christ we are given His righteousness so that God will be pleased to receive us. This initial righteousness is termed "imputed (ascribed) righteousness" in that it is assigned to us apart from righteous behavior on our part.

Imputed (ascribed) righteousness is the foundation of the Christian redemption and is of the utmost importance. But ascribed righteousness has been carried into the area reserved for righteous behavior, and this is where the problem lies. The bulk of the passages in the books of the New Testament indicate the need for righteous behavior, not ascribed righteousness.

The Kingdom of God is not in imputed righteousness. Imputed righteousness is given to us so we may begin the process of becoming a new righteous creation. The Kingdom of God is not ascribed righteousness, it is the doing of God’s will in the earth as it is done in Heaven. The Kingdom is just that—a kingdom in which the Lord Jesus rules.

There are two kinds of righteousness under the new covenant—imputed (ascribed) righteousness and actual righteousness of behavior. The believer will not understand the Christian redemption until he keeps clearly in his mind the difference between the two kinds of righteousness.

Imputed (ascribed) righteousness.

Actual righteousness of behavior.

The role of imputed righteousness is to serve as an atonement, a continual covering while we are being changed from sin and self-seeking to righteousness and holiness of behavior.

Imputed righteousness includes forgiveness. It is an atonement, a covering.

The ascribed righteousness that is part of the grace of the new covenant has little to do with our behavior. It is a legal position that forgives our previous sins. Because the world cannot see our legal position before the Lord, imputed righteousness cannot possibly serve as the Christian witness, the moral light to guide the nations of the earth.

There is no actual counterpart in the Law of Moses to the ascribed righteousness of the new covenant. God’s wrath was appeased by the offering of animals. But the atoning blood of God’s Christ enables God to see us as perfectly righteous at all times—a state that never could be produced by the blood of animals.

One great difference between the righteousness of the Law of Moses and the righteousness of the new covenant is that under the new covenant we begin our walk with God being clothed with the very righteousness of Christ.

Ascribed righteousness has been preached accurately and thoroughly by the Christian ministry. A good job has been done. The tremendous problem of twentieth-century Christian thinking is that there is little understanding of the actual righteousness of the Kingdom of God—the new righteous creation made possible by the initial, foundational gift of imputed righteousness.

To carry ascribed righteousness beyond its appointed place, substituting imputed righteousness for actual righteousness of behavior, is to create moral havoc, to destroy the whole purpose of the Divine redemption.

The purpose of all covenants established by the Lord is that people practice righteousness, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Current Christian theory has frustrated the Divine intention by making imputed righteousness almost exclusively the kind of righteousness obtained under the new covenant.

The purpose of imputed righteousness is to give God and us a chance to bring forth Christ in our personality. As Christ is formed in us we begin to behave righteously because of our new righteous nature. To continue to walk in sin and disobedience after receiving the Lord Jesus is to slay one’s own spiritual life. 

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin [practiced by the Christian] is death; but the gift of God [to the Christian who chooses to be the slave of righteousness] is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:22,23)

An initial portion of eternal life is given to us as a gift, just as the gift of ascribed righteousness is given to us. Then, as through the Lord Jesus we begin to practice actual righteousness of holiness of behavior, the eternal life increases day by day until we have more abundant life. To not press into righteous behavior but to continue in sin and rebellion will cause the eternal life that was born in us to wither and die. 

He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. (Matthew 13:22)

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:2)

To be actually righteous is to practice upright behavior, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8) This is the summary of the Law and the Prophets. This is the Kingdom of God. This is the desire of the Lord for all people.

The true planting of the Lord always brings forth righteousness and praise in the sight of the nations of the earth.

Actual righteousness is Christ in us. When Christ is in us we practice righteousness, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

To repeat what we stated previously, if the believer would understand Divine grace under the new covenant he must maintain a clear distinction in his mind between imputed, legal righteousness, and actual righteousness of behavior. The two are not at all the same. Legal, ascribed righteousness is one of the means God employs in order to develop actual righteousness of behavior. Actual righteousness of behavior is the Divine goal under all covenants.

When we say that Christians must be righteous people we are not referring to the imputed righteousness given them initially so they may commence the program of moral reconstruction. We mean, rather, they must behave in a righteous, holy, and obedient manner.

Be sure when you are reading the New Testament, from Matthew to Revelation, that you are sensitive to the passages speaking of actual righteousness of behavior rather than imputed (ascribed) righteousness. You will discover that the great majority of the passages are referring to actual righteousness of behavior.

The atonement made by the blood of the cross makes it possible for God to see us as righteous in Christ. The need for this covering steadily decreases as Christ is formed in us. There is no need for a covering between Christ and the Father.

Ascribed righteousness is temporary, a by-pass while the highway of holiness is being constructed. Actual righteousness of personality and behavior is the goal of the Divine redemption and the eternal nature of the Kingdom of God.

We have eternal life when we receive Christ because of the righteousness ascribed to us. Eternal life always follows righteousness whether the righteousness is imputed or actual. After receiving Jesus as Lord and Christ we must press forward into righteousness and holiness of behavior, thus laying hold on an ever-increasing degree of eternal life. Eternal life always is associated with righteous behavior.

Eternal life. Man is the dust of the ground. He is animated by flesh-and-blood life—energy that comes from the burning of oxygen.

In Christ is Life! In fact, Jesus Himself is the Resurrection and the Life. Christ Himself is our Resurrection. He Himself is our Life.

The Old Testament views life principally as adamic life. Keeping the Law of Moses brought long (adamic) life, health, and prosperity to the righteous.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of the New Testament is the emphasis on eternal, Divine Life rather than adamic life. From the beginning of His ministry the Lord Jesus preached that He Himself is eternal Life, the Bread of Life, the Life that is the Presence of God. This emphasis is not found in the Old Testament.

Paul pointed out that we must set righteousness and the resulting eternal life as our goals. Both righteousness and eternal life are Christ. To know Him, to be in union with Him, is to possess righteousness and eternal life—not a legally ascribed righteousness and the promise that we will be conscious for eternity, but a righteous nature that is in union with the Divine Life of the Godhead.

Mental confusion arises when we declare that Christ is our righteousness. Imputed righteousness has been stressed to the point that when the statement is made that Christ is our righteousness the hearer understands this to mean we have no righteousness of our own but are righteous because we are identified in God’s sight with the righteous Christ.

The concept is that Christ tells the truth but we lie; Christ is pure morally but we fornicate; Christ is peaceful and patient while we are violent and impatient. However, because Christ is righteous in personality and behavior we through identification with Him are righteous in personality and behavior.

Our lie is acceptable to God because Christ tells the truth. Our fornication is acceptable to God because Christ is morally pure. Our violence is righteousness in God’s sight because Christ is peaceful. Our impatience is accepted of God because Christ is patient. This sometimes appears to be the viewpoint of current Christian theology.

Let us think about this for a moment. Is this what we truly believe? We know that Christ is our strength. Does this mean we continue in weakness but there is no problem because Christ is strong? Doesn’t it mean rather that Christ gives us His strength so we actually are able to exert strength?

Christ is our resurrection and eternal life. Does this mean He has been raised and is filled with the Life of God while we continue in our adamic personality, but God considers us as resurrected and filled with His Life?

Are we to continue in our sinful, joyless, weak, violent state and then rejoice because Christ is holy, joyful, all-powerful, and the Prince of Peace? Or is it true that Christ imparts to us His purity, His strength, His joy, His peace until we are morally pure, strong, full of joy and eternal life?

Experienced Christians have learned that Christ indeed is our strength in that He imparts His strength to us when we need it. To those who have no might He increases strength. Isn’t it the truth?

What is not always clear is that the same is true of righteousness. The fact that Christ is our righteousness means that when we first receive Him we are righteous because of the blood atonement. Then the Kingdom of God is developed in us as the righteous Nature of Christ begins to guide our thoughts, our speech, and our actions. If the righteous Nature of Christ does not begin to influence our thoughts, speech, and actions, then we are not entering the Kingdom of God. We are not inheriting the Kingdom of God. 

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:5)

Moral purity, strength, peace, and eternal life are Divine impartations. Righteousness differs in that it is both a legal state and an impartation. The legal state is necessary so we may be authorized to begin to receive the impartation. All of this, the legal state and the impartations, are the Lord Jesus Christ.

There are two ideas associated with "eternal life" that are incorrect. First of all, the concept that eternal life has to do with going to Heaven. In actuality, possessing eternal life has nothing to do with going to Heaven.

Second, the defining of eternal life as eternal consciousness. Satan, the unclean spirits, and wicked people will be conscious forever and they possess no eternal life.

Eternal life is the Presence of God in Christ. It is a form of life. It is righteous, holy, spiritual life.

Eternal life cannot be imputed (ascribed) to us. We possess eternal life in degrees. As Christ grows in us eternal life increases in us.

If we are faithful in putting to death the deeds of our body, thus keeping ourselves filled with the Life of the Spirit of God, then, when Christ returns, the eternal life will extend to our mortal body. 

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)

But if we are not faithful in putting to death the lusts of our flesh, the eternal life will diminish and finally leave altogether. In the Day of the Lord there will be no eternal life to make alive our mortal body. We will reap decay and ruin.

We can notice the reaping of ruin in the parable of the sower, where some seed never came to maturity; in the parable of the foolish virgins, where those who had no oil had the door shut in their face; and in the parable of the vine and the branches, where the branches in Christ that did not bear fruit were cut from the Vine.

If we have received the Lord Jesus we have eternal life in our inner nature but our body is still dead because of the sin that exists in it. Where sin is there always is an absence of eternal life, of the Presence of God. 

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (Romans 8:10)

For if ye live in the appetites of the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

We are to lay hold on eternal life. We do this by cooperating with the Holy Spirit as He enables us to put to death the deeds of our body. 

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (I Timothy 6:12)

"Lay hold on eternal life."

If we continue to walk in the appetites of our flesh the eternal life we possess will leave. In this case, when we die our mortal body will not be redeemed by the Spirit of life. We will reap decay.

We are emphasizing the reaping of decay because this concept is not understood in our time. 

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:8)

The goal of the Christian discipleship is to attain to the out-resurrection from the dead. In order to be prepared for the resurrection that will take place when the Lord appears we must continually be gaining in eternal life today, throwing off the unclean works of darkness. If we do not we will not participate in the resurrection and ascension that will take place when the trumpet sounds announcing the first resurrection from the dead. 

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being changed into unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [Greek, out-resurrection] of the dead. (Philippians 3:10,11)

Grace. The term most in need of redefinition is "grace." Grace has been defined as "God’s riches at Christ’s expense." While this play on words has a semblance of truth it is destructively misleading.

Grace is thought of among Christians as primarily meaning "forgiveness," although the term actually is utilized in a number of different ways in the New Testament. The concept is that although we continue in sin, God overlooks our behavior because of "grace." Grace is viewed as an eternal, unconditional forgiveness.

Grace is defined as "unmerited favor." This is not a comprehensive definition. Everything God has done for mankind, including the creation of the universe, is unmerited favor, a blessing we have not deserved.

From the following passages we can see that forgiveness is not a fitting synonym for grace. Neither is "unmerited favor," unless by favor we mean much more than forgiveness. 

And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. (Acts 4:33)

And great "forgiveness" was upon them all? 

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; (Romans 12:6)

Gifts differing according to the "forgiveness" that is given to us? 

For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. (II Corinthians 1:12)

But by the "forgiveness" of God we have had our behavior in the world?

Forgiveness is included in Divine grace but is only one aspect of grace.

Grace in its finest, purest form is Christ Himself. Just as righteousness and eternal life are Christ Himself, so it is true that Divine Grace is Christ Himself. All the believer needs for life and glory is in the Lord Jesus and is the Lord Jesus.

Grace is the Presence of God that has come to mankind in order to make new creatures—life-giving spirits. Grace includes forgiveness but actually is the Divine Virtue in action to change the descendants of Adam into life-giving creatures.

To make new-covenant grace an alternative to godly behavior is to change the grace of God into immorality. It is to completely destroy the purpose of God in the new covenant. 

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4)

"Turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [immorality]" means they had accepted the forgiveness of God and then had continued in ungodly behavior.

Faith. "The just shall live by faith" is a declaration of the Old Testament and is repeated three times in the New Testament. "The just shall live by faith" is the motto of the Protestant Reformation. Some of the Protestants added the idea that justification is "by faith alone."

The concept of the righteous living by faith is attended by much confusion of thinking. The idea that we are justified by faith alone is not scriptural. This position is denied by the Apostle James. 

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. (James 2:17)

James has stated that if faith is alone, not accompanied by righteous works, it is dead! The Protestants have misunderstood the Word of God.

The confusion that surrounds the concept of the just living by faith has to do with what it means to "live by faith."

To live by faith is understood to mean that at some point we state our belief that the Lord Jesus died for our sins and rose again for our justification. We receive eternal righteousness, the legal standing of imputed (ascribed) righteousness, if we ever once state our belief that the Lord Jesus died for our sins and rose again for our justification. Some teachers, in complete misunderstanding of the Scriptures, go so far as to state that once we make a profession of belief we never again can be lost to the purposes of God.

The above is not at all what it means to live by faith.

First of all, to live by faith is to live by faith. It is a way of life, not a statement of belief.

To live by faith is to live by humble dependence upon God. To not live by faith is to live by arrogance and self-reliance.

The righteous live by humble dependence upon God. The unrighteous live by arrogance and self-reliance.

The eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews defines faith. If an individual desires a comprehensive definition of living by faith he may obtain one by examining the manner in which the heroes of old responded to the Lord.

At no point in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews is there a reference to belief in a "statement of faith."

Furthermore, all of the illustrations of living by faith (in Hebrews, Chapter 11) are taken from the behavior of people who served God under previous covenants. Therefore the principle that the righteous live by humble dependence upon God is always and eternally true. The concept of the just living by faith is not a peculiar aspect of the new covenant, a device by which we can behave unrighteously and yet be under the blessing of God.

Salvation. What the Christian salvation is, is in very great need of redefinition.

Salvation is defined today as a blanket forgiveness of our sins, an unconditional amnesty, the purpose of which is to grant us escape from Hell and entrance into the spirit Paradise when we die. To this has been added a flight to Heaven just before the great tribulation commences. Once in Heaven we will live in mansions and possess acres of diamonds. What happens after that seems to be uncertain. This salvation is for Gentiles. The inheritance of the Jews is a kingdom on the earth.

The above is a set of fables. It is an accumulation of traditions added over the past two thousand years. It is as far from the Divine redemption as the Islamic or Hindu religions or the happy hunting grounds of the American Indian.

Salvation is not from earth to Heaven, it is from the presence and image of Satan to the Presence and image of God.

Salvation is not a change of where we are but of what we are.

The problem is, people are sinners. God cannot live with them. His righteous Nature requires that sin be punished; therefore, people live in agony and death. God desires to live joyously among His creatures but their behavior prevents His doing so.

The solution is not to forgive people and carry them to the spirit Paradise. What would this accomplish? Sin began in the spirit Paradise. What would be the benefit of bringing sinners back into Paradise?

The solution to the problem of sinful people is to change the people.

No previous covenant of God has issued the power, the grace to change people, although God’s elect always have been admonished to behave righteously. None of the prior covenants, including the Law of Moses, contains the redemptive grace that changes people.

But the new covenant changes people, it does not merely forgive them. The new covenant writes the law of God in the mind and heart. The new covenant writes the law of God in the inner man by creating Christ in the inner man.

The new creation, Christ in the inner man, does not sin. He does not sin because he has been born of God. 

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (I John 3:9)

As soon as people have been transformed by the indwelling Christ they are ready to walk with God and can serve God anywhere in His creation. They are equally at home in Heaven and on the earth.

Redemption is not pointed toward going to Heaven. Redemption is release from Satan and union with God.

To be saved is to be saved from sin, from Satan, from spiritual and (when the Lord returns) physical death.

The arguments concerning "once saved always saved," or "can I continue to sin and still be saved," are meaningless. They are based on a false definition of salvation.

To ask if once I am saved will I always be saved must be reduced to specifics if we are to answer the question. Do we mean once we are saved from hatred we always are saved from hatred? The answer is yes, if we continue to walk in the Presence of God; no, if we return to our sinful behavior and permit the spirit of hatred and malice to once again enslave us.

Can I continue to sin and still be saved? This is an illogical question. It is to ask, can I continue in chains and still be delivered? Can I remain sick and still be healed?

If we are asking, "Can I continue in sin and still go to Paradise when I die?" the Scripture answers in several places that if we continue to sin we will die spiritually. We will lose the eternal life that was given to us. Can we be spiritually dead and still enter the spiritual Paradise when we die? Can we reap corruption and still enter the spiritual Paradise? Can we be cut out of the Vine and still enter the spiritual Paradise? Only the Lord Jesus knows the answer to these questions.

We cannot determine whether or not salvation is by faith alone until we think in terms of the scriptural usage of terms.

We have defined righteousness as that which pleases God and is accepted of Him. We have said that the new covenant includes both legal (imputed) righteousness and actual righteousness of behavior. We have stated further that the bulk of the passages of the New Testament emphasize actual righteousness of behavior.

Unrighteousness is behavior that is unacceptable to God. 

Eternal life was shown to be the Life of God in Christ given to us as we continue in a state of righteousness before the Lord.

Spiritual death is the absence of the Presence of God. 

Grace includes much more than forgiveness. Grace should be viewed as the Presence of God in Christ that has entered the world in order to deliver people from the bondages of sin and death. Grace is the Divine enablement that stands ready to receive and transform whoever will receive.

Lack of grace is lack of the enabling Presence and Virtue of God in Christ. 

Faith is our grasp upon the Character of God. Whoever comes to God must believe that God exists and that He will reward every individual who seeks Him fervently with a pure heart. Faith is our willingness to live in humble dependence on God.

Lack of faith is an unwillingness to trust God in every aspect of personality and behavior. 

Salvation is deliverance from Satan and entrance into the image and Person of God.

To be lost is to be cut off from the Presence of God, to not be sharing in the program of deliverance from sin.

Christ Himself is our Righteousness.

Christ Himself is our Eternal Life.

Christ Himself is our Grace.

Christ Himself is our Faith.

Christ Himself is our Salvation.

Christ Himself is our Wisdom, our Sanctification, our Strength, our Song, our Joy.

This does not mean we are righteous by imputation (assigned righteousness) or identification because Christ is righteous. It does not signify we have eternal life because Christ has eternal life; we have grace because Christ has grace; we have faith because Christ has faith; we have salvation because Christ has salvation.

It means, rather, that Christ Himself is our righteousness, our eternal life, our grace, our faith, our salvation. The more of Christ we possess the more righteousness we possess; the more eternal life we possess; the more grace we possess; the more faith we possess; the more salvation we possess; the more resurrection we possess.

God’s goal is that we practice righteousness, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. As Christ is formed in us we practice righteousness, we love mercy, and we walk humbly with God. In this manner Christ becomes our Salvation. Christ Himself Is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

We must keep in mind that God’s desire for man never has changed and never shall change. It is an eternal desire. 

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to practice righteousness, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8)

The requirements placed upon Adam and Eve were minimal. The requirements upon Noah were greater, and God’s dealings with Abraham were stricter yet. But the goal always has been people who practice righteousness, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

The perceived reward for righteous behavior at the time of the patriarchs seems to have been acceptance by the Lord—righteousness in His sight. The goal of eternal residence in the spirit Paradise, in Heaven, appears to have been added at a later date—although Abraham was looking for a city that has foundations (actually, the new Jerusalem that is to come to the earth).

The Law of Moses comprises various statutes and ordinances that are to be obeyed. The individual who practices these statutes and ordinances was viewed as righteous. 

And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. (Luke 1:6)

The devout Hebrew found righteousness, peace, and joy and through observing the statutes and judgments of the Lord. 

Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the Lord. (Leviticus 18:5)

For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. (Romans 10:5)

An Orthodox Jew always has been, and is today, extremely zealous of the Law. 

And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: (Acts 21:20)

In the above instance, these were Christian Jews. Think of it! It was the Apostle Paul who introduced the idea of salvation apart from the Law of Moses.

We mentioned previously that before we examined Paul’s attitude toward the Christian salvation we would redefine some commonly employed terms, giving them definitions that are in line with their usage in the New Testament. Having presented our definitions, let us proceed to discover the attitude of Paul as this righteous Jew approached the Divine salvation.

Paul’s Attitude Toward the Christian Redemption

The Apostle Paul came to regard every one of his accomplishments in the Law as so much trash. This remarkable individual was able in his lifetime to discard all that had been the basis for his hope of God’s blessing. He let it all go that he might look up from the Torah and embrace Christ, and come to know the righteousness that is of God by faith in Christ. Paul understood that he who possesses Christ possesses all that God Is and all that God has created. 

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win [gain] Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (Philippians 3:8,9)

The Apostle Paul, the Hebrew of the Hebrews, had been very zealous to obey all the aspects of the Law of Moses. 

And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. (Galatians 1:14)

Why had Saul of Tarsus been so zealous of the Law of Moses? Because he was seeking righteousness.

We will never understand Paul’s epistles until we see them from the standpoint of a person seeking righteousness. 

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Romans 7:24)

From the context of the above verse we know Paul was not seeking to die so he could go to Heaven to live in a mansion. Neither was he hoping to be free from the aches and pains of an aging body or from the rigors of persecution or Roman imprisonment. Rather, Paul was hoping for release from the body of sin that was dwelling in his flesh so he could behave in a righteous manner.

The answer to Paul’s cry for deliverance from the bondage of sin is found a few verses later. 

And not only they [the material creation], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)

In the verse above, Paul reveals that if we persevere in cooperating with the Spirit of God the hour will come when God adopts our mortal body. How will God adopt our mortal body? By redeeming it from indwelling sin.

Here is Paul’s crown of righteousness—a body liberated from the compulsion of sin. Now this righteous Jew can serve God with a spirit, soul, and body that have been totally delivered from sin. Now Paul is a candidate for the fullness of eternal life.

In the Old Testament the reward for righteous behavior was life. But life under those conditions was viewed as healthy physical life accompanied by material prosperity. Eternal life, the Life of God in Christ, is the unique message of the Lord Jesus and His Apostles.

The Apostle Paul was seeking righteousness with all of his strength, and he viewed eternal life as his reward. 

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end [result] everlasting life. (Romans 6:22)

"And the end [of righteous, holy behavior] everlasting life." 

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (II Timothy 4:8)

"A crown of righteousness"!

What a difference in goals—a crown of righteousness as opposed to a mansion in Heaven and acres of diamonds!

We Gentiles ordinarily do not come to Christ with a desire for righteousness. Most of us were not seeking righteousness before we were saved, and salvation was not presented to us as the solution to our personal problem of excelling in righteous behavior.

Many of us had to be told that all men are sinners. Then we were informed we cannot save ourselves, meaning we shall go to Hell when we die rather than to Heaven. In some instances we may have felt convicted because of our sinful state.

Salvation was presented to us as the guarantee that when we die we shall not go to Hell but to Heaven, there to abide forever in a mansion.

It is interesting that Paul never used the phrase "go to Heaven" nor does the term "Hell" appear even one time in all of Paul’s Epistles. Because the expressions "go to Heaven" and "saved from Hell" do not appear in Paul’s writings, and Paul’s writings are the most revelatory and foundational of all Christian writings, we should be alerted to the fact that our teaching and preaching are in need of review.

Paul mentioned we are saved from the wrath of God; but it seems that most of his warnings had to do with dying spiritually or with not inheriting the Kingdom of God. The New Testament warnings concerning the wrath of God often stress what will take place at the coming of the Lord or God’s present attitude toward us, rather than what happens to us after we die. 

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? (Matthew 3:7)

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36)

But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; (Romans 2:5)

If we are to understand the writings of the Apostle Paul we must reorient ourselves to the Christian salvation. The Christian salvation has as its purpose the creation of righteous personalities. The reward for righteous behavior is eternal life, which is equivalent to entering the Kingdom, the rule of God.

This pattern appears throughout the Epistles of Paul.

One cannot possibly understand Paul’s writings if he or she holds the traditional view of redemption.

Let us look once again at the traditional view of redemption; the five terms we have redefined; and the goal of the Apostle Paul. Remember, the question we are asking in the present paper is whether salvation is by faith alone or whether faith of necessity must live in works. 

The traditional view of redemption. Salvation is a blanket forgiveness of our sins, an unconditional amnesty, the purpose of which is to grant us escape from Hell and entrance into the spiritual Paradise when we die. To this has been added a flight to Heaven just before the great tribulation commences. Once in Heaven we will live in golden mansions and have many material delights in a spiritual setting. What happens after that seems to be uncertain. This salvation is for Gentiles only. The inheritance of the Jews is a kingdom on the earth. 

The five terms we have redefined.

Righteousness is that which pleases God and is accepted of Him. We have said that the new covenant includes both legal (imputed) righteousness and actual righteousness of behavior. We have stated further that the bulk of the passages of the New Testament emphasize actual righteousness of behavior.

Eternal life is the Life of God in Christ given to us as we continue in a state of righteousness before the Lord. Eternal life is a kind of life, as is true of the life of flesh and blood.

Grace is the Divine enablement in Christ that stands ready to receive and transform whoever will receive.

Faith is a willingness to trust God in every aspect of personality and behavior.

Salvation is deliverance from Satan and entrance into the image and Person of God. 

The goal of the Apostle Paul. The goal of the Apostle Paul was perfect righteousness in God’s sight and the resulting eternal life. Paul viewed eternal life as complete union with Christ in His death and resurrection. Paul was seeking to attain to the out-resurrection from the dead, that is, the resurrection and ascension that will take place when the Lord appears.

Paul groaned for the redemption of his mortal body, not that he might escape fear and pain but that he might be righteous in the sight of God. Paul’s ideal was the possession of a spirit, soul, and body filled with Christ’s Presence.

Paul never contrasted righteous behavior and the saving grace of the Lord Jesus. Paul understood better than anyone else that the saving grace of the Lord is for the purpose of creating righteous behavior in us.

Paul strongly emphasized we are not saved by the works of the Law of Moses but by the enabling Virtue that is in Christ and is Christ. Paul was reacting against the Law, not against man’s attempts to practice righteousness, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

We Gentiles, not approaching God for the same reason as Paul, think Paul was saying it no longer is necessary to behave righteously. As one translator expressed it when commenting on a passage in Romans, God no longer is interested in our seeking to live righteously but has shown us a different way to get to Heaven:

The following quotation from Taylor (Tyndale House Publishers. Living Letters by Kenneth N. Taylor), quoted in The New Testament from 26 Translations, is a comment on Romans 3:21: "But now God has shown us a different way to heaven—not by being ‘good enough’ and trying to keep his laws . . . . "

Where Taylor derived this translation we have no idea. It is not related to the Greek text. Finding the way to Heaven is never presented by Paul as being the goal of salvation. Going to Heaven has nothing to do with the context of Romans 3:21. The Gentile reader would understand "not by being ‘good enough’ and trying to keep his laws" to mean God has given us a plan of salvation that is an alternative to godly behavior.

Taylor is not alone in his thinking. The concept embodied in the above translation has destroyed the moral strength of the Christian churches. The current ignorance of the Christian redemption is demonstrated here. The idea is that God has changed His mind about reforming people and has agreed to take them to Paradise on the basis of their confession of Christ, and that this is the Divine redemption of fallen man. The descendants of Adam are redeemed from life on the earth and brought to the spirit Paradise where they will enjoy earthly delights in a spiritual setting. We shall not be redeemed from sin and self-will but from life on the earth in a physical body. This is today’s concept of salvation.

The Christian churches of our day have lost their lampstand, their testimony, because of ignorance of the purpose and procedure of the Divine redemption.

Although we may not have come to Christ in order to obtain righteousness, let a righteous personality and righteous behavior now become our goal. Let us pursue righteousness and the resulting eternal life. Let us realize our true Goal is Christ Himself, for it is as we come to know and possess Him that we come to know and possess righteousness and eternal life in the Presence of Almighty God.

If we make righteousness and eternal life our goal, understanding that to serve unrighteousness is to lose the eternal life that was given us on the basis of initial imputed (ascribed) righteousness, then all of the writings of the Apostle Paul, including his striving to attain to the resurrection, will make perfect sense. But to continue in the current traditions will permit us to understand only a few scattered fragments of Paul’s reasoning.

How the New Covenant Operates

Let us now examine how the new covenant of salvation operates, comparing it with the operation of salvation under the Law of Moses.

Salvation in terms of the Law of Moses. Under the Law of Moses the believer was to make every effort to obey the commandments of the Lord, particularly the commandments contained in the first five books of the Scriptures (the Torah ). When he sinned he was to offer the designated sacrifice, and make restitution if indicated.

If he obeyed the Scriptures he was promised long life and the blessing of God. Although there are references in the Old Testament to the resurrection of the dead and also to the new heaven and earth and the glorified Jerusalem, as a general rule the worshiper was not pointed to a joyous life in the next world as being the reward for keeping the Law.

The Israelite obeyed the set of rules. The blood of animals made an atonement for his sins. The reward was that God counted him as righteous and he was blessed in this world. Also, he had the hope of Divine favor when he died and of a resurrection that would bring him into the land of Israel.

This is what Paul meant by works—the works of the Law of Moses. There were the Ten Commandments, dietary observances, admonitions concerning physical relationships, and statutes governing crime, leprosy, the handling of money, and so forth.

Not one element of the Law of Moses is to be made a part of the Christian salvation. The Christian covenant is a new covenant. It is vastly superior to the old and is bound by no aspect of the old.

Salvation in terms of the new covenant. The Law of Moses and Christian grace have:

Different goals.

Different orientations

Totally different procedures 

Different goals. The goal of the Law of Moses, as we have stated, was a righteous individual who was eligible to receive the present physical blessing of God plus a vaguely defined Divine favor in the next age.

The goal of Christian grace is that we be changed into the moral image of Christ and filled with the Presence of God and Christ through the Holy Spirit. The accomplishment of such image and union make possible all of the other objectives, roles, services, and positions of the Kingdom of God.

The goal of Christian grace is a person who is righteous as the Lord Jesus is righteous; holy as the Lord Jesus is holy.

The goal of Christian grace includes all of the rewards promised to the overcomers, the victorious saints.

The goal of Christian grace includes participation in the roles that God has designated. These roles include but are not limited to:

Being a member of the Bride of the Lamb (Revelation 21:9).

Being part of the Temple of God (Ephesians 2:22).

Being a member of the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:12).

Being a part of the vehicle for the end-time revival (Isaiah 60:1,2).

Being a restorer of Paradise on earth (Romans 8:21).

Being a member of the royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9).

Being a witness of God (Isaiah 43:10).

Being a son of God (Revelation 21:7).

Being a brother of Christ (Romans 8:29).

Being an overcomer of the accuser (Revelation 12:11).

Being a governor of the nations (Revelation 2:26,27).

Being a judge of men and angels (I Corinthians 6:2,3).

Being a wall of defense around the Glory of God (Revelation 21:14).

Being a part of the revelation of Himself—God in Christ in the saints (Revelation 3:12).

We see therefore that the goals of Christian grace, of the new covenant, are as high above the Law of Moses as the heavens are high above the earth. 

Different orientations. The orientation of the believer under new-covenant grace is as radically different from orientation to the Law of Moses as the goal of the new covenant is different from the goal of the Law of Moses.

The orientation of the believer under the Law of Moses was simple and straightforward. He was a part of Israel (or joined to Israel in some manner), a member of the congregation, and was expected to adhere to the commandments of the Lord given through Moses. He was always conscious of his sinful state.

The believer under the new covenant approaches God through death and resurrection. No worshiper under the Law of Moses ever was required to enter the death and resurrection of anyone.

We are baptized in water into the death and into the resurrection of Christ. We commence our new life totally without condemnation. The Law of Moses does not govern dead people. Our death in water baptism sets us free from every aspect of the Law of Moses. Because we are one with Christ in His death and resurrection, no element of the Law of Moses is to be introduced into the Christian salvation. 

Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? (Romans 7:1)

Every particle of the comprehensive goal of the new covenant, as set forth above, is possible only as the believer is willing to become one with the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus and one with the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

Sharing in Christ’s death and resurrection is a position we adopt by faith upon entering the Christian salvation. Soon the Holy Spirit is actually bringing us down to the death of the cross and raising us up in the resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus. 

But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: (II Corinthians 1:9)

The goals of the two covenants are very different. The orientations to the two covenants are very different. The procedures of the two covenants are very different. 

Totally different procedures. Under the Law of Moses the worshiper was to make every attempt to obey the commandments. He always was aware of his sin but the blood of animals helped him gain a clear conscience. There were (and yet are!) fervent Jews who spent their lives studying the Law of Moses and the Talmud and who strove diligently to obey all the statutes written therein. There were numerous others who acknowledged the holiness of the Law but were not nearly as diligent in observing the various ordinances.

The new covenant follows a much more comprehensive procedure. The new covenant is the Law, the Torah, written in the mind and heart.

God was not pleased with the response of the people to the Law of Moses and so He has given Himself to be our salvation.

The procedure of the new covenant is as follows:

We enter union with the death and resurrection of Christ, thus completely coming out from under the authority of the Law of Moses.

We abide under the continuing righteousness of the blood of the cross.

We do what the New Testament Apostles command.

Christ is formed in us with the result that we begin to behave righteously because of our new nature.

Eternal life results from our righteous behavior, leading to more righteous behavior and more eternal life.

We have already discussed the fact that no part of the new covenant is available to us apart from our union with the death of Christ and union with His resurrection.

We abide under the continuing righteousness of the blood of the cross. Because we are associated with the death of Christ the guilt of our sins is removed totally. We now are without condemnation as we walk in the law of the Spirit of life. As long as we are walking in the light of God’s perfect will we have fellowship with God and the blood of Christ is cleansing us from all sin.

It is being taught today that salvation is unconditional, being a sovereign work of God removed from our personality and behavior. In actuality the continual covering of the blood of atonement is conditional, being based on our walking in the light of God’s will, on our abiding in the death and resurrection of Christ. When we return to our fleshly behavior, life lived in the appetites of the flesh, we come under the Law and the judgment of God.

We are free from the authority of the Law of Moses only as we are an integral part of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus and are seeking to obey the commandments of the Apostles. 

But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. (I Corinthians 11:32)

But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. (Hebrews 6:8)

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. (II Peter 2:20)

As long as we are obeying the Lord, serving Him with all of our strength, we are without condemnation. The blood atonement is covering us and we are perfectly righteous in the sight of God.

We then are to do what the New Testament Apostles command. 

But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. (Romans 6:17)

We are to obey from the heart the doctrine of the Apostles. If we do not we cannot continue under the new covenant.

There is a false teaching today. It is that we are to do nothing in the way of righteousness but to wait until Christ does the work in us. It is added that anything we attempt to do in the way of righteousness and holiness is legalism. This teaching is close to the truth but far enough away that its effect is paralyzing.

The new covenant begins with the efforts of the adamic nature. Our old personality must continually study the New Testament as well as the Old Testament writings and strive to do what God has commanded (not the ceremonial statutes of the Law of Moses but the exhortations to righteousness of the Old and the admonitions of Jesus and His Apostles found in the New).

We Christians are obligated to serve the Lord to the best of our ability, battling against all the powers of evil that come against us. If we do not, if we do not present our body a living sacrifice, pray, study the Scriptures, gather with fervent saints (as possible), serve, give, and do all else associated with victorious Christian living, then it is not possible for us to continue in the new covenant.

Meanwhile the position that we hold by faith is that we are dead with Christ and have risen together with Him to the right hand of God. We must maintain our position by faith while our adamic nature is striving to obey God. Little by little the adamic nature decreases and Christ increases, if we continue in steadfast faith.

Notice that the New Testament has hundreds of commands we are to obey as well as we can, calling on the Lord at all times to help us in our struggle against our love of the world, our love of sin, and our love of our self-will. 

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. (Romans 6:12)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)

Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. (I Corinthians 15:34)

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (II Peter 1:5-8)

We are to diligently obey the above commandments, calling on the Lord continually for help in our time of need. If we do not we will not please the Lord. We will not continue in His covenant.

The worshiper under the old covenant had little to assist him in the struggle to overcome darkness and death. Under the new covenant we have the born-again experience, the body and blood of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the testimony of the Apostles to strengthen and guide us. Jesus is making intercession for us at the right hand of God. Through the atoning blood of Jesus we can enter past the veil and obtain assistance as we struggle to do what God has commanded.

None of this assistance was available under the old covenant.

Our efforts to obey the Apostles are not the new covenant but are the necessary approach to the new covenant.

The new covenant is the forming of Christ in us, and then the coming of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit into the transformed inner nature to dwell in us for eternity. This is eternal life, the Kingdom of God, and the final result of the working of the new covenant.

We are to take heed to the prophecies of the Scriptures until the Day Star, Christ, rises in our heart. 

We have also a more sure word of prophecy [the Scriptures]; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (II Peter 1:19)

We must do what the Apostles have commanded until the new covenant comes to maturity in our inner nature. To say we are to do nothing until Jesus performs it in us is an interesting theory but certainly not in accordance with the admonitions of the Apostles.

The end of the Divine working is that we are crucified with Christ and Christ is living in us; the life we now live is no longer us but is Christ in us. As soon as Christ has come to maturity in us, then it is true that the Kingdom of God has come to maturity in us, the new covenant has come to maturity in us, eternal life has come to maturity in us. Now all the things and purposes of God through the coming ages are ours by inheritance.

Perfect righteousness now is ours. Christ in us always practices justice, always loves mercy, always walks humbly with God. That which never can be true of Adam is now eternally true of us.

Our efforts to please God have resulted in Christ being formed in us. Christ is eternal life. The eternal Life of Christ in us causes us to practice righteousness, which in turn leads to more eternal life—and so on and on as we grow in the image of Christ throughout eternity.

All of this takes place as we choose to yield ourselves servants to righteousness. 

I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. (Romans 6:19)

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. (Romans 6:22)

Different goals. Different orientations. Different procedures. The new covenant is a better covenant founded on better promises.

If the new covenant were only a covenant of forgiveness and did not require righteous behavior on the part of the worshipers, it would be inferior to the old covenant in terms of God’s objectives. If God desires people who practice righteousness, love mercy, and walk humbly with God, who delight to do His will, then a covenant that does not require righteous, holy, obedient living is not at all satisfactory.

The new covenant is eminently satisfactory because it meets all of God’s eternal standards.

Now, let us look at our original question. Is it true that the Christian salvation, the Christian righteousness, is by faith alone?

The answer is no, if by faith we mean taking a doctrinal position and believing in it apart from any attempt to live righteously, any transformation of personality, any new creation.

The answer is yes, if by faith we mean practicing righteousness, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God to the best of our ability and God’s help until Christ comes to maturity in us. 

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (II Corinthians 3:18)

The cry of Amos reveals the eternal heart of God: 

But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. (Amos 5:24)

Any covenant that God makes with man will always have the practice of judgment and righteousness as its objective. This is true of both the old covenant and the new covenant.

Because of the wickedness of our hearts we always misunderstand God. The devout Orthodox Jew seeks righteousness by studying the Law. The study of the Law becomes an end in itself—it does not always lead to judgment and righteousness.

The Christians have been taught that under the new covenant God abandons His desire that people practice judgment and righteousness and is willing to take them to Paradise if they will confess Jesus as Christ.

Neither the Orthodox Jew nor the Christian understands the Lord.

The God of Heaven is seeking people who will let judgment run down as waters and righteousness as a mighty stream, not scholars who spend their hours in an endless analysis of the Torah or Christian believers whose primary hope is that they will fly away to Paradise before they are required to endure suffering.

It is time for a reformation of Christian thinking.

THE ORIGINAL SIN

When the Lord Jesus came two thousand years ago He gave us an idea of what the Kingdom of God would be like. The Lord exercised the power of the Kingdom in healing the sick, casting out demons, and walking on the water.

He at that time could have summoned the legions of powerful angels that perform God’s will. He could have brought to an end the agony of earth’s people as they wallow in the filth poured on them from the evil spiritual thrones in the air above us.

Christ at once could have at once abolished all sickness, all tragedy, all death.

Why did not the Lord do this? Why did He allow the rebellious lords of the heavens to continue to pollute the earth with their self-will and stubborn determination to frustrate the will of God, thus bringing untold misery upon the nations of the earth for so long a period of time?

The answer is, God is waiting for both righteousness and sin to come to maturity and to be clearly defined. The Father is showing the self-willed former rulers of the heavenlies, as well as the elect angels who chose the Father’s will, His perfect wisdom and righteousness. 

To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by [through] the church the manifold wisdom of God, (Ephesians 3:10)

An example of God’s willingness to allow sin to come to full definition occurred in His dealing with Abraham: 

But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. (Genesis 15:16)

"The sin of the Amorites is not yet full, not yet complete."

The Father is exercising His infinite wisdom and patience as He permits sinners, both angelic and human, to keep on proving the wisdom and righteousness of God. Even the Lord Jesus, who has paid the full price for the redemption of all people, must wait until the Father brings the Lord’s enemies under His feet.

We must never, however, presume upon the Father’s love and patience. When the fullness of time comes, when the last overcomer has laid down his life that God’s perfect will may be done in the earth, the righteous angels shall be commissioned to cast down Satan and his followers from the heavenlies.

Then there will be singing and dancing in the heavenlies because the mouth of the accusers of the brothers has been stopped. But woe to the sinners and hypocrites in that day! The wrath of God that has been contained since it came into Satan’s mind to set his will against the will of God shall be poured out without mixture. Only those who are under the protection of the blood of the Lamb, Christ, will be spared the terrible Divine wrath. 

The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. (Revelation 14:10,11)

Those who worship the Beast and his image include people who, while they may participate in some aspects of Christianity, insist on maintaining their own independence of thought and action. They are self-ruled people. Like Antichrist, they are their own God.

The rebellion in Heaven took place in ages past. But all that is in Satan’s personality and the consequences of what is in his personality have not as yet been revealed fully.

The ruling spirits of the heavens that followed Satan into the assertion of their own wills, resulting in the array of abominable behaviors that we see today, were at one time valued members of the family of God. Satan was perfect in all his ways. 

Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. (Ezekiel 28:14,15)

"You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created."

The "iniquity" that was found in Satan and proved to be his downfall was the assertion of his will, his independence of thought and action, his desire to be like God but not part of God. 

For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (Isaiah 14:13,14)

"I will ascend; I will exalt; I will sit; I will ascend; I will be like the most High."

We may be trusting in the blood of the Lamb. We may be cooperating with the Holy Spirit as He creates the Divine testimony in us. But the most important and the most difficult aspect of the salvation of the sons of God is the surrendering of our independence of thought and action in order that we may become one with God and His will.

This does not mean we lose our uniqueness or our will is weakened. Rather it is true that we are joined into oneness with the Father and the Son and our will is always set on doing God’s will.

All of Heaven had been filled with Divine Light. The rulers and authorities who today are occupying the thrones in the air that govern the earth were at one time part of the Divine Glory. It prevents us from understanding what actually took place in the heavenlies if we picture the fallen lords as having been created in wickedness.

God wants us to realize that insisting on our own will, our own independence of thought and action, is sufficient to change us from a child of God filled with Divine Light and Life into a horrible monster of darkness and depravity.

The magnificent Satan, the covering cherub, chose to exert his will independently of the Father. Some of the rulers of the spirit realm followed him.

From the original problem of self-will have evolved the various aspects of covetousness, immorality, violence, drunkenness, and sorcery that are filling the earth today.

But the Word, the eternal Life that was with the Father from the beginning and by whom all creatures and things were created, chose to do the will of the Father. 

I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. (Psalms 40:8)

Because the Word elected to do the will of the Father rather than to assert Himself, God made many important pronouncements concerning Him—particularly in the Book of Psalms: 

Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen [nations] for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. (Psalms 2:6-8)

Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Psalms 45:6,7)

The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. (Psalms 110:1,2)

We can be sure these promises, as well as all the other promises of the Scriptures (for they all are directed primarily to Christ), were emphasized by the Spirit of God to the boy of Nazareth as He pondered the holy scrolls and asked questions of the doctors of the Law.

In the beginning all was Divine Light. But then Satan and other distinguished personages decided they had a right to "be themselves" just as people of today decide to nourish their "rights," their self-will, self-love, self-righteousness, self-centeredness, self-importance, self-joy, self-fulfillment, self-ambition—self! self! self! People are lovers of themselves.

Christian people run here and there exclaiming, "I am not having my needs met. I am not being fulfilled!"

One wonders if the Christians who were being burned at the stake ever questioned if they were having their needs met or if they were being fulfilled!

What about God’s needs? What about Christ’s needs? Do we ever think about anything except ourselves?

This is the image of Satan in the earth.

Therefore God divided the Word, the eternal Life, and the elect angels from the darkness of self-will. The darkness of self-will never again shall be able to comprehend or associate with the Divine Light—no, not for the eternal ages upon ages. The darkness of self-will, self-centeredness, is doomed to remain bound forever in the joyless, loveless, restless realms of spiritual darkness.

God has wrought a new creation. The new creation springs from the obedient One, Christ. There shall come forth from the body and blood of Christ a company of totally obedient sons—sons who have loved not their lives to the point of death while the poison of self-will was being drawn from them.

They have denied their self, taken up their cross, and followed the Lord Jesus wherever He has led them.

"Your Kingdom come, Your will be done," they cry. "As in Heaven, so in earth." This in place of "I am not having my needs met."

The fallen lords occupy the thrones in the air above the earth. At the appearing of the Lord the victorious saints will be caught up to meet Him in the air. There they will be placed on the governing thrones, the thrones previously occupied by the rebels from Heaven. This is the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

Because the spirits who have been seated on the ruling thrones are saints who have been called, chosen, and then proven faithful through countless temptations and tests, they are personages of the utmost integrity and obedience to the Father. Also, the love of Christ for all of God’s creatures is in them.

These are God’s judges, the new lords of the creation. The spiritual environment of the earth will change from that of rebellion and lust to the righteousness, love, joy, and peace that have been created in the sons of God as they patiently have endured tribulation. God’s Presence and Glory will fill the whole earth because of the new rulers in the heavenlies.

The nations of saved peoples of the earth, the nations that assisted the Lord’s brothers in their hour of testing, will reflect the new spiritual atmosphere. 

And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3)

The victorious saints are the kingdom that has been prepared from the creation of the world to bring justice, deliverance, guidance, blessing, eternal life, and the Presence of God to the nations. 

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: (Matthew 25:34)

"The kingdom prepared for you," that is, for the "sheep" nations.

The victorious saints are being prepared in order that they may serve as a royal priesthood for the nations of saved people.

Christ-filled sons will stand as sentinels around the Glory of God forever. Never again shall self-will pass through the gates into the Presence of the Father. The fallen lords have been sentenced to total destruction at the hand of Christ and His saints. 

And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them. (Deuteronomy 7:24)

And the God of peace shall bruise [crush] Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (Romans 16:20)

The original sin always is disobedience, not murder, adultery, or covetousness, but disobedience. This is why both Christ and Abraham, and then every member of the governing priesthood, must be tested rigorously in the area of stern obedience to the Father.

Only the Divinely appointed suffering can burn out of us our instinctive rebellion and self-love. Only the flames of tribulation, the suffering found not in Paradise but in this present world, can destroy the self-centeredness from us.

The almighty Christ was perfected in obedience to the Father during His sojourn in this world.

Now, all authority in Heaven and on the earth has been given to Him because of His total obedience to the Father. We also who have been born sons of God shall inherit all things if we are willing to love not our own life, our own soul, our own will to the point of death.

If we would be fruitful and rule all the works of God’s hands we must be sternly obedient to the Father in all areas of personality and behavior.

It may be noted that earth’s peoples, even the majority of the elect, are not as yet convinced that sin brings suffering, corruption, destruction, and death; or that each of God’s creatures must choose to do the will of the Father rather than his own will. Therefore much suffering, much agony of body, soul, and spirit, is yet ahead for natural and spiritual Israel and the remainder of mankind.

God will permit Satan to develop fully all that is in his spirit, and then God will bring into judgment all Satan is and all he has caused to be true of the angels and people. The creatures of the heavens, of the earth, and of the realms below the earth’s surface are being given the opportunity to observe the results of rebellion against the Father’s will. The history of the world is an object lesson, the intent of which is to remove sin from the creatures of God forever. 

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (Ephesians 2:2)

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)

All the rewards, all the inheritance, go to those who through Christ struggle successfully against all that is of Satan in the world and in their own personalities—especially the desire to think, speak, and act independently of the Father.

DEATH AND RESURRECTION The Heart of the New Covenant

It is amazing that God entrusted to one man, the Apostle Paul, the explanation of the change from the Law of Moses to the new covenant of the Lord Jesus Christ. It appears that the actual nature and mechanism of the new covenant is difficult enough to be misunderstood to the present day.

The first five chapters of the Book of Romans include Paul’s argument against the Jews. Paul’s position is that the Divine grace given through the Lord Jesus has superseded the Law of Moses. The works of the Law of Moses no longer are God’s way of righteousness. The works of the Law are not to be mixed with the new covenant. Paul states again his position emphatically in a later chapter: 

And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. (Romans 11:6)

Of course, by "works" Paul is not speaking of righteous behavior. This would contradict a great part of what he wrote in his letters to the churches. The term "works" is referring to the works of the Law of Moses, such as circumcision, the kosher regulations, and the feast days.

Paul realized his doctrine could be perverted to mean righteous behavior no longer is required. 

For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just. (Romans 3:7,8)

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (Romans 6:1)

The relationship between Moses and Christ was difficult even for the original Apostles to understand. They quarreled among themselves concerning the role of the Law in the Christian redemption. 

But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? (Galatians 2:14)

Paul stressed that we please God by faith in Christ whom God has sent, that God cannot be satisfied any longer by our observance of the Law of Moses.

Then Paul in his letter to the Galatians, as he does in the sixth chapter of Romans, pointed out that our adherence to Christ as the means of our righteousness, apart from obedience to Moses, does not indicate we now are free to sin. 

But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. (Galatians 2:17)

Do we demonstrate our freedom from Moses and our pursuit of Christ by behaving sinfully? Is Christ the promoter of sin in His followers? 

For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. (Galatians 2:18)

Galatians 2:18 makes the same statement as Romans 6:2:

God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

If, after having left Moses for Christ, we continue to live in the lusts of our animal personality, we break the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses has authority over our adamic personality. If we continue to live in our adamic personality we rebuild what had been destroyed and are found guilty of transgressing the Law of Moses.

James repeats this concept: 

But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. (James 2:9)

When we choose to live in our adamic personality, rather than to enter the death and resurrection of Christ, we are under the condemnation of the Law of Moses whether or not we have been baptized in water and profess to be a Christian.

The Law of Moses serves as a slave that keeps us under control until we come to maturity in Christ and are judged by the law of liberty. 

So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. (James 2:12)

The Law had brought Paul into death because of Paul’s sinful nature. By choosing to enter the death of the righteous Jesus, Paul had died to the Law of Moses so he would be legally free to live unto God through Christ. 

For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. (Galatians 2:19)

Then Paul expresses the solution to the perplexing problem of the relationship of the Law of Moses to the new covenant, and the relationship of sinful behavior to the new covenant: 

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Paul had abandoned Moses in order that his righteousness might proceed from faith in Christ alone—not the type of faith that is mere belief in doctrine but the faith that is a life lived in the Presence of the Lord, life guided and empowered by the righteous Nature of Christ. How can he be released from Moses? By being crucified with Christ.

How can Paul be released from sinful behavior? By living in Christ and Christ in him. The answer to Moses and to sin is entrance into Christ’s crucifixion and entrance into Christ’s resurrection. 

Deliverance From Sin by Means of Death and Resurrection—From the Sixth Chapter of the Book of Romans

If we would be free from Moses we must be crucified with Christ. If we would be free from sin our adamic personality must count itself crucified with Christ and raised with Christ. The tribulations of life must actually conform us to the death of Christ, and the Life of Christ in us must enable us to gain the upper hand over sin and disobedience.

Paul had reason to be concerned. The very thing he feared has come to pass. Paul’s argument against the continuance of the Law of Moses has been interpreted to mean grace is a new way of relating to God; God no longer requires righteous, holy, obedient behavior.

The Lord Jesus does not represent the termination of the Law of Moses but the fulfillment, the final result of the Law of Moses.

Paul stated we are justified by faith, by Divine grace that operates apart from the works of the Law. We Gentiles have interpreted "works" to mean godly behavior. Paul was viewing works as the endeavors of the human, adamic personality to obey the various aspects of the Law of Moses, such as the Ten Commandments and the statutes governing feast days, leprosy, crime, diet, and so forth.

If by "works" Paul meant godly behavior Paul would have been contrasting grace and godly behavior. Since the true grace of God always leads to godly behavior, Paul’s argument would be misdirected and incompetent indeed!

Today’s understanding of Paul could hardly be more destructive of God’s intention under the new covenant. The moral character of the Christian churches has been destroyed because of the current error.

If the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans is studied carefully it will give the believer a true understanding of Divine grace under the new covenant. But if we would be able to perceive what the verses state we must clear our minds of the traditional grace-rapture-Heaven concept of redemption, because nothing resembling this pattern appears in Romans, Chapter Six.

The Scripture does not present grace as a forgiveness that makes us eligible for eternal residence in Heaven but as a powerful act of transformation, based on our union with the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, that results in eternal life.

The goal is victory over sin and the resulting incorruptible resurrection life, not eternal residence in Heaven. There is a new world coming, and the Divine salvation gives us eternal life so we may enjoy the new world. We do not go to the new world when we die, the new world is coming to the earth at the appearing of the Lord from Heaven. 

Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting. (Luke 18:30)

"In the world to come." Not after we die and pass into the spirit realm but in the world to come. 

But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: (Luke 20:35)

"That world" has to do with the "resurrection from the dead." 

For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. (Hebrews 2:5)

God today is forming rulers who will govern the world to come.

The Christian salvation is a tremendous work that transforms the human personality so in the righteous age that even now is on the horizon the individual may enjoy eternal life in the Presence of the Lord.

Forgiveness gives us a start on the path that leads to life. The Lord Jesus Himself is the Way, the Truth, and the Life that lead us to the Father. We cannot enjoy fellowship with the Father except as we walk in the light of God’s will, a will that continually is transforming us in preparation for eternal life in the new world of righteousness.

In place of the "rapture" of untransformed individuals to remove them from the problems of the world, the scriptural emphasis is on the removal of spiritual death, on the obtaining of resurrection life by gaining victory over sin.

The unsaved person cannot gain victory over his sinful behavior. But because of the legal processes and Virtue included in the new covenant, the individual who abides in the Lord Jesus can and shall gain victory over sin until eternal life is solidly in his possession.

The unsaved person is doomed to remain in captivity to sin and to suffer the resulting corruption and death (separation from God).

The saved person has the resources, through the Lord Jesus, to conquer sin and to enter eternal life and glory (union with God through Christ).

If we do not understand the above, then we do not understand the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans; neither do we understand the Christian salvation.

Verse one. 

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (Romans 6:1)

Since the Apostle Paul had stressed that under the new covenant we no longer are obligated to obey the Law of Moses, the conclusion could be drawn that we are free to keep on sinning. The idea is that our continuing to sin produces an increase of grace—the grace of God needed to cover our continuing sinfulness and rebellion against God.

This reasoning is perverse. We know God’s intention under all covenants is that men practice justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. If the new covenant excuses us from the necessity for righteous behavior, and the idea is to magnify the mercy and forgiveness of God, then the new covenant is inferior to every other covenant God has made with mankind. In fact, it works against God's desire.

Contrary to current thinking, the new covenant is not a provision God has made for people walking in lust and rebellion to have fellowship with God. New-covenant grace is not primarily forgiveness, although it includes forgiveness. New-covenant grace is primarily the means of our deliverance from Satan, and our change into the moral image of Christ and entrance into restful union with God through Christ.

Is the conclusion to be drawn from Paul’s argument against the Jews that believers in Christ ought to continue sinning so Divine grace may increase? Not at all, although from today’s preaching one could wonder if we really are convinced that the new covenant is not an invitation to sin. Perhaps it is true (we muse) that if we continue to sin, grace increases and covers that sin so we may remain acceptable to God, and that this is a desirable condition from God’s point of view.

Verse two. 

God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (Romans 6:2)

No, we are not to continue to sin so grace may abound.

The answer to the sin question is, we are "dead to sin."

But what does this expression mean?

There are at least three possible answers:

The sin nature is dead in us and we no longer have sinful desires.

It does not matter too much if we sin because God does not regard what a believer does as being sinful.

Sinful behavior is not appropriate, reasonable, expected, or desirable because we have taken our place with Christ on the cross and in so doing have declared our adamic personality to be dead with Christ and our new nature to be risen with Christ.

Paul had not, in previous chapters, introduced the concept we are dead to sin. He now proceeds to elaborate the idea of being dead to sin, for it is in our union with Christ’s death and resurrection the answer is found to the perplexing issue of the relationship of the Law of Moses to the new covenant and the relationship of sin to the new covenant.

Verse three. 

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? (Romans 6:3)

If we would understand the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans we must keep in mind that Paul is speaking to people who have been baptized in water. The final verse of the chapter, speaking of the wages of sin, often is addressed to the unsaved. However Romans 6:23, stating the wages of sin is death, is directed toward believers who have signified their faith, their conversion to Christ, by being baptized in water.

Do we truly understand that when we were baptized into Christ we were baptized into His death on the cross? Do we truly comprehend and accept this position?

It may be a fact that most people who are baptized in water do so in a spirit of obedience, not necessarily as an act of consciously entering the death of the Lord.

In some denominations water baptism is a ritual signifying membership in the denomination. This concept hardly is scriptural.

When a person desires to become a Christian, to be saved, and he is commanded to be baptized, he does so in obedience to the ministry and the Scripture. "He who believes and is baptized shall be saved." But does he understand he is entering the crucifixion of Jesus?

The Lord Jesus bore upon Himself the sins of the world. No doubt His death began in Gethsemane as He agreed before the Father to carry the necessary load of guilt and shame.

From Gethsemane to Calvary: "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

And then, "It is finished." The perfect atonement had been made.

This statement by the Lord Jesus "It is finished" marked the end of the entire adamic creation. The race of mankind, the earth, the heavens—all were brought to their prophesied end on the cross.

What else was terminated? The guilt, the compulsion, and the effects of our sin.

The rebellion against the Father had been judged. Satan had been found guilty as charged. The end of all things had come.

Our adamic nature was slain on the cross of Calvary. Therefore the authority of the Law of Moses over our old personality was brought to an end.

IT IS FINISHED!

Verse four. 

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)

"We also should walk in newness of life."

The gospel preached today is not the Gospel of the Scriptures. It is not the new covenant. The true new covenant is the Gospel of "newness of life." The gospel of today is that of forgiveness with a view of going to Heaven to dwell forever in a land of joy and peace.

Contrast "newness of life" and "going to Heaven to dwell forever in a land of joy and peace."

But, one may object, these really are the same thing. They are not at all the same thing! The first is a change in what we are. The second is a change in where we are.

The tradition of today is that God takes us as we are, forgives us, and when we die (or in a rapture) brings us to a place where there is no pain, trouble, or dread.

The true Gospel of the Lord Jesus assigns us to the cross and our new born-again nature to the right hand of the Father. Then it sets about to change us totally, conforming us to the moral—and finally bodily—image of the Lord Jesus. It also brings us into total union with God through the Lord Jesus.

Notice the contrast between the two viewpoints:

Forgives us and takes us to a place where there is no pain, trouble, or dread.

Conforms us to the image of the Lord Jesus and brings us into total union with God through the Lord Jesus so we are walking in "newness of life."

The two operations are not the same.

The first is of great benefit to us. The second is of great benefit to God. Why is our change into the image of the Lord Jesus of great benefit to God? Because God’s purposes can be accomplished in and through us only when we have been changed into the image of the Lord and brought into total, restful union with God through Christ; only when we are living in newness of life in Christ.

Some of God’s purposes are as follows. Please keep in mind that none of these purposes is possible to a forgiven adamic personality. Each is possible only to the individual who has entered the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, who as a result has been changed into the image of the Lord Jesus and brought into perfect union with Him and who therefore is walking in newness of life:

The creation of a bride for the Lamb (Revelation 21:9).

The creation of a living temple for God (Ephesians 2:22).

The creation of a body for Christ, the Servant of the Lord (Isaiah 42:1; I Corinthians 12:12).

The creation of a vehicle for the end-time revival (Isaiah 60:1,2).

The creation of people who can restore Paradise on the earth (Romans 8:21).

The creation of a royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9).

The creation of witnesses of God (Isaiah 43:10).

The creation of sons of God (Revelation 21:7).

The creation of brothers of Christ (Romans 8:29).

The creation of saints who gain victory over the accuser (Revelation 12:10,11).

The creation of governors for the nations of the saved (Revelation 2:26,27).

The creation of judges of men and angels (I Corinthians 6:2,3).

The creation of a wall of defense around the Glory of God (Revelation 21:14).

The creation of the revelation of Himself—God in Christ in the saints (Revelation 3:12).

These are purposes of God—purposes that will be accomplished in the saints who are walking in newness of life.

But how is the necessary change accomplished? How are we brought from our present adamic state to "newness of life" so the purposes of God may be fulfilled in us and through us?

The answer is, by union with the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. We consider ourselves to be crucified with Christ and risen with Him. We begin each day with the viewpoint we are a dead-living person. We, through the Virtue, wisdom, and energy of the Holy Spirit, overcome the appetites and enticements that would keep us chained to the lusts of our adamic nature. Also, we draw on the incorruptible resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus for wisdom and strength to do all He has commanded.

The Law of Moses cannot condemn us because we are dead on the cross. The Law of Moses has no authority over the dead. The Spirit of God gives us power over the power of sin in our flesh in anticipation of the day when the Lord appears and, after ridding our body of the last vestiges of sin, will finally fill our mortal body with the Holy Spirit who today is dwelling in us.

The new life is infinitely more than a change in our habit patterns. It is the eternal, incorruptible resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus. It is Divine Life! Eternal life is given to us as we view ourselves as dead on the cross with the Lord and risen with Him to the right hand of the Father. 

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ: (Ephesians 2:6)

Water baptism is a drama that portrays our burial with the Lord Jesus and our resurrection and ascension with Him to the highest throne of the universe. This is the true Christian salvation. It is not the forgiving of Adam and the bringing of him in his untransformed state back into Paradise so he may eat of the tree of life and live forever as a rebel against God.

Rather, it is the crucifixion of Adam and the ascension of his new born-again nature to the Father through Christ so that Jesus through the Holy Spirit may transform his entire personality by the Virtue of God. Then the new Adam can eat of the tree of life and live forever because the wall of Christ, the wall against sin and rebellion, has been constructed in his spirit, soul, and body.

Verse five. 

For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: (Romans 6:5)

If we would be resurrected with the Lord Jesus, if we would attain to the out-resurrection from the dead that will take place when the Lord appears, we must come to know the Lord, the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.

Sometimes it is taught we are "identified" with the death of the Lord and with His resurrection. While this is true it can lead to a false conclusion. The term identified can lead to the idea that our relationship to the death and resurrection of the Lord is conceptual, mental, theological. We can subscribe to the idea that we have died and been raised with the Lord and then continue our adamic, animal existence.

We prefer the term union. We enter a living, tangible union with the death of the Lord and with His resurrection. In so doing we are released from four bondages.

We are released from the authority of the Law of Moses.

We are released from the guilt of sin.

We are released from the power of sin.

We are released from slavery to our self-will.

We are released from the authority of the Law of Moses because we have died with Christ, and the Law does not govern the dead.

We are released from the guilt of sin because the blood of the Lord Jesus paid the price for our transgressions. The blood satisfied the justice of God. The soul that sins must die. Jesus died in our place and we escape the penalty.

We are released from the power of sin when we confess our sins and repent of them. As we do, the power of the Holy Spirit overcomes the power of the indwelling sin and we are able to keep from practicing it.

Deliverance from the compulsions of sin is a major aspect of the Christian redemption. However it is the fourth area of redemption, release from slavery to our self-will, that is the crucial aspect of our salvation as sons of God.

The original sin was not adultery or bearing false witness or stealing or profanity or murder. None of these had as yet entered the new creation, although they may have been active in the heavens among the followers of Satan in some form.

The original sin was self-willed disobedience. Adam and Eve obeyed their self-will in place of the will of the Father. Through their disobedience sin was able to enter their personalities, in particular their bodies, and bring them into slavery to sin.

Sin resides in the members of our body because we are descendants of Adam and Eve. Before we come to Jesus our spirit, soul, and body are cut off from God because of the sin that dwells in them.

When we receive the Lord Jesus all our sins are completely forgiven. Also, we no longer are under the authority of the Law of Moses. Now we are authorized to begin the process of removing the sin from our personality.

Our inner nature is alive because of the righteousness given to the inner man by the Holy Spirit. Eternal life always is the result of righteousness. 

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit [spirit—inner man] is life because of righteousness. (Romans 8:10)

"Life because of righteousness"—the righteousness ascribed to us because of our faith in the Lord Jesus.

Righteousness always is the basis for eternal life.

Our spirit, our inner man, is righteous. But our body remains dead, separated from God, because of the sin that dwells in it.

Little by little, through the Holy Spirit, we are able to put to death the sin that dwells in us. At the same time the Life of Jesus is increasing in us. 

For if ye live in the appetites of the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

But deliverance from sin is only part of the Divine redemption. The most important aspect of our salvation is deliverance from our self-will so we are free to obey God sternly and totally.

The solution to freedom from the authority of the Law of Moses, freedom from the guilt of sin, freedom from the power of sin, and freedom from self-will and disobedience, is our union with the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

It is more than identification, it is union. It is an active, vigorous entering into the death of Jesus and the resurrection of Jesus. We enter death and resurrection each day as the Spirit of God guides and enables us, and the result is freedom from sin and disobedience and joyous participation in the will of God in every aspect of personality and behavior.

Toward the end of his life the Apostle Paul told how he had found the supreme goal and joy of life to be the possession of Christ, the knowledge of His resurrection and change into the likeness of His death. 

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win [gain] Christ, (Philippians 3:8)

Notice we are not dealing here with an abstract theological position, a philosophy, an assent to a concept. As a result of his union with Christ, Paul had experienced the loss of all things. Furthermore his joy was so great because of what he was experiencing in Christ that he regarded every other accomplishment of his life as garbage. 

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (Philippians 3:9)

The "righteousness which is of God by faith" has little to do with belief in theological facts of redemption. It is not mere belief in the death and resurrection of Christ. The righteousness that is of God by faith is our continual entering into the death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ accompanied by our evaluation of all else as trash.

To Paul, the fundamental Jew steeped in the traditions of the Law of Moses, letting go of the Levitical traditions and embracing the Lord Jesus was a stupendous undertaking. To be assured God was receiving him even though his mind was not on the Law but on the living Christ was a daily challenge.

Day by day Paul’s faith laid hold upon Christ. Day by day the assurance, the joy, the peace increased. The most profound of human problems was being dealt with—Paul’s will was being converted to the will of God. Because Christ’s Life was increasing in Paul, Paul was delighting to do God’s will. 

I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. (Psalms 40:8)

The most peaceful, joyous experience possible to a human being is attained when our will is identical with the will of God. Then we are free. Then we are God’s bondslaves. Then we are in the rest of God. Then we are united with Him in His death and resurrection.

As long as any part of our will is not found in God we are in partial slavery to our own self-will, which is equivalent to slavery to Satan. If we persevere in following Christ we remain free from the Law of Moses, free from the guilt of sin, free from the compulsions of sin, and finally, free from self-will.

To obtain all these freedoms is to attain to the resurrection that is out from among the dead. 

If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [Greek, out-resurrection] of the dead. (Philippians 3:11)

For those who have attained to the inner resurrection, that which is available now—in this life, there remains only the filling of our mortal body with the Spirit of God. The filling of our mortal body with incorruptible resurrection life marks our adoption as a son of God. 

And not only they [the material creation], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)

"Waiting for the adoption."

Our inner nature must be born of God but our body is to be adopted.

Deliverance from sin is not the goal. Deliverance is a means to the goal. The goal is to be in the image of Christ and to be in union with Christ. In order to attain the goal and thus be made available to God for the fulfillment of His purposes, we must be delivered from moral impurity, and especially from self-will.

Verse six. 

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (Romans 6:6)

We are dealing in Romans 6:6 with two entities:

Our old man.

The body of sin.

The old man is our original adamic personality.

The body of sin is the sin that dwells in our flesh and is the reason for our body being dead—cut off from the eternal Life of God. 

Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (Romans 7:20)

There is nothing but evil in the body of sin that dwells in us. There is some good in our adamic personality, but then there is the horrible problem of self-will.

The Christian salvation, unlike all other religions and philosophies, does not attempt to reform our adamic personality. The Christian salvation assigns our entire adamic personality (our old man) to the cross with Christ. Our old personality is not salvageable.

The adamic personality cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. 

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (I Corinthians 15:50)

The Christian redemption assigns the old man (the entire old man, the good and the bad of it) to the cross with Christ. Then the Divine redemption, the new covenant, gives birth to a new man, a new inner nature, and immediately lifts the new nature to the right hand of God.

The new nature is the Seed of God and cannot sin. 

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (I John 3:9)

The adamic nature must accept its death and, while waiting for the inner nature to gain strength, must seek to obey the teachings of the Apostles. One cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless the old man is faithful in accepting its death and in striving to obey the commandments of the Apostles.

But the new covenant, the Kingdom of God, is not found in the reformation of the old personality. The Kingdom of God is Christ Himself who is formed in the believer. Christ, the Day Star, rises in the heart. However, Christ can be formed in us only as we (sometimes, as in a new believer, the "we" consists mostly of the first, adamic personality) obey the Apostles, faithfully waiting on the Lord in every aspect of life.

The only way we can escape slavery to sin is by assigning our first personality—the good and the bad of it—to the cross with Christ.

Spiritual deliverance is available to the Body of Christ in our day. People can be delivered from murder, hatred, lust, covetousness, jealousy, drunkenness, and every other demonic chain.

However, if the individual is not faithfully following Christ in death and resurrection, the deliverance may prove to be partial and temporary.

Spiritual deliverance, if it is to be an eternal judgment on Satan and a permanent deliverance for us, must be accompanied by the forming of Christ in us. The correct procedure is for the growth of Christ to expose an area of sin. After the unclean spirit has been cast out, Christ is to grow into that area and secure it from further encroachments by the enemy.

If deliverance is practiced as a quick, easy solution to moral bondage, apart from an accompanying growth of Christ, the deliverance will likely be partial, as we have said, and not permanent. God’s goal is not the deliverance of human beings, it is sons in His image who are abiding in Christ.

The Lord is freeing us from sin by replacing our original flesh-and-blood personality with a new personality formed from the Life of God. The old Adam is being replaced with a new Adam. All things are being made new and all things are of God.

Some of the traits of the adamic personality, such as love, loyalty, honor, courage, friendliness, integrity, are not sinful. But each of these traits, until it is renewed in Christ, will fail under enough pressure or because of deception, or will become warped. Love becomes lust. Loyalty becomes a party spirit and divisiveness. Honor becomes pride. Courage becomes recklessness, presumption, or unwarranted boldness. Friendliness becomes weakness and a desire to please people instead of God. Human integrity will fail eventually if it is not renewed by the Virtue of the Lord’s Person.

The capacity for love and union may be the distinguishing characteristic of mankind. It is not stated concerning the angels that they are able to love or enter into union with another. But love can turn into the monster of lust.

Much is said today concerning love, especially in the churches. But it usually is human love and can be the most formidable enemy of the Gospel. When the truth is preached the listeners of today may accuse the preacher of a lack of love. They may be hearing what is needed to save them from destruction, and the preaching may be coming from the love of God ministering through the preacher. But today’s congregations, having been corrupted by self-serving ministers who flatter their congregations, often perceive the stern warnings of the prophets as lacking in love. They do not know what love is! Neither do they understand the difference between condemnation and conviction. 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [a new creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, . . . . (II Corinthians 5:17,18)

Verse seven. 

For he that is dead is freed from sin. (Romans 6:7)

Freedom from sin is accomplished in three steps:

Freedom from the guilt of sin.

Immediate deliverance from the force of sin.

Ultimate deliverance from the force of sin.

We already have discussed freedom from the guilt imposed by the Law of Moses. As long as we are abiding in Christ and walking according to the Spirit of God, guilt is not an issue. Our sins were forgiven through Christ’s death on the cross and they continue to be forgiven as we walk in the light of God’s will. We now, if we are abiding in Christ, are without condemnation in the sight of God. Our adamic personality, that over which the Law of Moses holds sway, is dead with Christ and therefore no longer under the authority of the Law.

The continuing problem is the force of sin, the lust, the enticement that resides in our flesh and deceives us into practicing behaviors of which we do not approve. Our body is not morally neutral. There are forces dwelling in it that crave satisfaction—satisfaction found in actions that may be contrary to God’s moral Nature.

Christ, through the Holy Spirit, has provided an immediate deliverance from sin. As we confess our sins and repent of them, the Holy Spirit takes the fire and life out of them and we are able to keep our body under control. In this manner we are kept by our faith unto the day of redemption. 

Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:5)

Which is the earnest [pledge] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:14)

The ultimate deliverance from sin will take place at the coming of the Lord. The Lord will appear to those who faithfully are looking for him, who have kept His Word through the Apostles, who have patiently overcome sin through the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit.

The Lord will appear to them and redeem their mortal bodies. He will appear without sin bringing the ultimate release from the force of sin. He will redeem their mortal bodies from all of the energies of sin, the very presence of sin. He will fill their bodies with eternal, incorruptible resurrection life. This is the white garment that will be given to the Bride at Christ’s appearing. The white garment is the righteous deeds the victorious saints have practiced through the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit. 

And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness [righteous deeds] of saints. (Revelation 19:8)

The promised redemption will not take place in the lukewarm, only in those persons who have proven their worthiness by faithfully, patiently keeping the words of the Lord. 

Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4)

The coming redemption is the final, ultimate solution to the problem of sin.

Let us keep in mind that only one of the various aspects of salvation comes to us legally through imputation. Only forgiveness of sin and the consequent righteousness in God’s sight is imputed (ascribed) to us. All of the remaining elements of our inheritance, such as eternal life, being a member of the Body of Christ, a part of the Bride of the Lamb, a pillar of the Temple of God, and so forth are never imputed to us. They cannot be just ascribed to us. They are actual facts of personality, behavior, and role.

The enormous misunderstanding of the Christian Church is that all areas of redemption are ascribed to us because of our belief in Jesus, are ours by legal authority alone, and that this legal position of imputation is the Christian redemption. This misunderstanding makes the Kingdom of God a house of cards. There is little reality, little life. It is a kind of withdrawal from reality.

The Kingdom of God is a real kingdom in which human beings are transformed into sons of God, not by mercy and forgiveness but by actual transformation through the impartation of the Divine Nature. The new creation is not imputed, it grows from the Divine Seed against every kind of obstacle. The greater part of the Seed sown today never brings forth lasting fruit. The lesser part that does bring forth lasting fruit does so in varying degrees.

It is time for the Church to wake up. The Kingdom of God is at hand and it is a genuine kingdom with a King, a nobility, an army, and all other aspects of a kingdom. None of this reality and Divine glory is ascribed to us when we do not possess it; rather it is created in us as we patiently, faithfully follow Christ through the tribulations of life on earth.

God envisions things that are not in existence as though they were in existence. God already sees us glorified in Christ. But unless we press forward in the Holy Spirit until we actually are glorified the Divine vision will never become reality. Let us not be mistaken about this or one day we will be weeping and gnashing our teeth in remorse because of opportunities forever lost.

Salvation and glorification always are an opportunity, not a fact ascribed to us when there is no reality.

Deliverance from both the guilt and the force of sin takes place in those who live each day in union with the death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ.

Verse eight.

Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: (Romans 6:8)

Every aspect of the Divine redemption is based on the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and our participation in that resurrection.

How terrible it would have been if Christ had been crucified carrying the load of our sins and then had been imprisoned eternally in Hades! In that case we would have had no guarantee that our sins were forgiven.

It is Christ’s resurrection that makes redemption the glorious triumph that it is, that assures our entrance into joy and glory.

Apart from Christ’s resurrection and our resurrection we are of all people the most to be pitied. 

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (I Corinthians 15:19,20)

We have voluntarily entered into union with Christ’s death and burial. We have done so in order that we may be raised with Him far above all other authority and power. Our hope of eternal life is based entirely on Christ’s resurrection.

The reason today’s preachers and teachers do not emphasize the resurrection, in some cases stressing the ascension ("rapture") as an escape from earth’s problems, is that they never have taken their place on the cross with Christ. They are very much alive in their adamic nature. They are hoping that God will save them as they are and carry them to a place where they will be perfectly happy. They are fortunate God is not going to fulfill their hope, because if He did bring them in their adamic state into Paradise they soon would be competing angrily with one another.

The victorious saints are being changed into Christ’s death and experiencing the power of Christ’s resurrection. They are looking for and longing for His appearing. He will appear to them and fulfill their desire for righteousness. At His coming He will change their physical bodies until they are like His. 

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)

"Unto them that look for him." 

Who shall change our vile body [the body of our humbling], that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Philippians 3:21)

"Fashioned like unto his glorious body."

Then we shall live together with the Lord for the eternity of eternities.

Verse nine. 

Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. (Romans 6:9)

Every aspect of our personality that experiences the death and resurrection of Christ becomes free from the power of sin and death.

Let us say that someone has injured us severely and without cause. Satan immediately attacks us with spirits of revenge, bitterness, hatred.

This is part of our daily struggle against spiritual death and our attempt to enter life.

If we choose to disobey the Lord’s commandment by not forgiving our enemy, spiritual death prevails. We remain in the corruption of the old adamic nature. No progress is made toward the first resurrection, the resurrection of the victorious saints that will take place when the Lord appears.

If we choose to obey the Lord’s commandment by forgiving our enemy we must seek His Divine Virtue and His Holy Spirit, because the power to forgive does not reside in our flesh. The moment we choose to forgive, Divine authority and power take charge. The evil spirits seeking to dwell in us are rendered powerless. The forgiving Nature of Jesus enters our spirit. Part of our personality dies and a new, Divine element takes its place.

The new element is now an eternal part of our personality. Death has no power over it. It is our inheritance to the ages of ages. It is an eternal judgment in our favor.

We are being made incorruptibly alive as we follow the Lord in the process of death and resurrection!

Verse ten. 

For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. (Romans 6:10)

The Lord Jesus never again will be required to bear the load of sin. He never again will be required to experience the terrors of Gethsemane. He never again will be exposed to the mocking faces of demons in Hades. He is in incomprehensible Glory for eternity in the Presence of God.

The Apostle Paul never again will be required to wrestle against sin in his flesh. He never again will have to bear the scorn of the Jews or the pains of shipwreck and imprisonment. He is dwelling in incomprehensible Glory for eternity in the Presence of God.

So it is with us. Today we are in the death throes of sin. If we remain faithful, pressing each day into the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, we will live unto God rather than unto sin. We will grow each day in the life lived unto God.

Finally, if we do not quit in despair, the hour will come when we are shed forever of the body of sin and death we now are dragging around. The new wine will be put in new bottles. We will be alive in the Presence of God in incomprehensible Glory for eternity.

It is of the greatest importance to the believer of today to realize that our change from a corruptible animal nature to eternal life in the Presence of God will not happen suddenly at our physical death, in a "rapture," or at the coming of the Lord. Our change from death to life is taking place now. No moral transformation will take place in a "rapture" or at our physical death. The redemption that will take place at the return of Jesus, while it will include a final deliverance from all corruption and death and the issuing to us of a body fashioned from eternal life, will actually be the revelation of that which had taken place during our pain-filled pilgrimage on the earth.

Let us make sure we are not counting on imputation (ascribed righteousness) to furnish us with the wonders of the Kingdom of God that come only as we participate in the process of daily death and resurrection.

Verse eleven. 

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:11)

We are to count ourselves dead to sin. We are to take the position that because we have entered the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus, sin no longer has authority over us. God has redeemed us through the blood of the Lord Jesus and we no longer are under condemnation.

We also are to count ourselves as alive in God’s Presence in Christ. This means every aspect of our personality and behavior is to be experiencing the Life of God each day of our discipleship.

We keep ourselves from sinning by confessing and repenting of our sins, by resisting the devil, by meditating each day in the Scriptures, by daily prayer, by fellowshiping on a consistent basis (as possible) with fervent disciples, by giving, serving, presenting our body a living sacrifice, and obeying God in all areas.

We keep ourselves alive unto God by resisting sin and walking each day in fellowship with God. We must count we are dead with Christ and alive in the Presence of God. This is our orientation to life in all of life’s aspects. We are not our own possession. We belong to Christ. He is our personal Lord. We are to obey Him in every instance. We are to abide in Him. We are not of the world just as He is not of the world. As He is, so are we in this world.

Verse twelve. 

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. (Romans 6:12)

By utilizing all the Divine provisions and directions we have discussed to this point we are able to prevent sin from controlling our mortal body.

We must keep in mind always that our body is filled with various lusts. These lusts war against the righteous, holy ways of the Lord we find in the Scriptures. 

For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. (Galatians 5:17)

Notice the obligation laid on us in Romans 6:12: "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body."

Throughout the centuries a lie has been preached. It is that Jesus accomplished all the aspects of our redemption and our task is only to believe that Jesus has done it, that Jesus has overcome sin.

The same lie is being taught today. When we protest that the New Testament writings admonish us concerning several areas of behavior we are accused of legalism.

There is a false rest, a false assurance, a false peace that comes with the teaching that "Jesus did it all." While such doctrine may give temporary relief to some soul who is in despair attempting to overcome sin, it is not the true scriptural relief.

The true scriptural relief is the assurance that we are without condemnation while we are following the Spirit of the Lord. He who would live the victorious Christian life must know when to rest in the Lord’s finished work and when to follow the Lord into battle. We must overcome as He also was required to overcome. Our victory is possible because of His victory and because He assists us. Nevertheless, it is our victory.

"Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body."

It is we who prevent sin from governing our mortal body. 

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)

"To him that overcometh." "Even as I also overcame."

There is a time to emphasize The Overcomer. Then there is a time to stress the victorious saint. When we overemphasize The Overcomer, that Jesus did it all, we do not grow in moral purity and strength of character. When we overemphasize the victorious saint, the victory to be gained by the saint, we may become discouraged and defeated. We must keep the two concepts in balance if we would attain the rewards offered to the overcomer.

The Lord assists us as we battle our way into Canaan. He helps us and makes victory possible. We do the fighting.

Evil dwells in our mortal body. It is our responsibility to lay hold on the grace of God in Christ until the evil has been overcome.

"Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body."

Verse thirteen. 

Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (Romans 6:13)

The sixth chapter of Romans speaks of yielding, of choosing whose slave we are. Human beings are not capable of being independent. We have been created male or female, a condition not true of the angels of God. We have been created to cleave to God in love, to worship and adore God. We are free only when we are God’s slave.

Satan, and Satan-filled people, desire and seek our adoration, our love. The demons desire and seek our attention and our compliance with their lusts.

Sin always is clamoring for our attention and worship. Satan went so far as to request worship from the Lord of Glory (there is no end to the presumption of the wicked!).

All humans are seeking someone or something to worship, to adore, an object of joy. It is our responsibility to insure that we offer ourselves to the Lord God of Heaven. We are legally free to do so because we have risen from the dead with the Lord Jesus.

When we yield to Satan and his demons, who work through our bodily and soulish appetites, we gain a temporary, frantic pleasure. But we sin when we yield to the demands of the wicked. The members of our body become instruments of wickedness. We need to understand clearly that all sin is the worship of Satan. "He who commits sin is of the devil" (I John 3:8).

We are commanded to offer ourselves to God, to offer the members of our physical body to God until we are practicing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.

The unsaved individual does not have the authority or the power to choose to yield the members of his body to the Lord. The unsaved is in the chains of Satan and can be compelled to sin. But the believer who has entered the death and resurrection of Christ has both the authority and the power to resist the passions of sin and to present the members of his body as an offering to the Lord, to become the slave of righteousness.

The Christian of today has a false model of salvation. He perceives salvation as a device to deliver him from Hell and to insure his reception in Paradise when he dies.

The truth is, salvation is the Divine deliverance from slavery to sin and the bringing of the worshiper into slavery to righteousness. The Christian salvation is not deliverance from Hell but from the worship of Satan. Salvation is not admission to Heaven but the power to be changed into Christ’s moral image and to enter union with the Father through Him.

Verse fourteen. 

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14)

How does the Law of Moses enable sin to be our master?

The knowledge of sin comes by the Law, just as in the case of Adam and Eve. They were living in nakedness, a shameful state. But because they were unaware of their nakedness they had fellowship with the Lord with an untroubled conscience.

When they partook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which is the law of God, they became conscious of sin. The Law of Moses, an abridged, covenantal form of the eternal moral law of God makes us conscious of sin but does not provide deliverance from sin.

We have a strong desire to please God but there is much sin in our personality. The Law forbids us to act in a sinful manner, continually making us conscious that our appetites and behaviors are displeasing to God. Because of the condemnation the Law brings, sin keeps us from having fellowship with God. We are aware that much of our personality is opposed to God just as Adam and Eve realized they were naked. It appears there is little we can do about it. The moment we have peace, some aspect of the Law reminds us we are sinning against God by our very nature.

New-covenant grace holds out to us total forgiveness as we enter the death of Christ on the cross. The perfect atonement has been made. God sees us as righteous in Christ. The veil is lifted and we enter before the Mercy Seat, there to obtain grace to help us as we begin to overcome sin by the Spirit of God. Sin no longer is able to govern us, to keep us from the Presence of God.

Now the process of re-creation begins. As we walk in the Spirit of God, being in a state of righteousness because of the righteousness of Christ imputed (ascribed) to us, the wisdom and power of the Spirit combined with the Virtue of Jesus given to our new born-again nature enable us to put to death the actions of our body. We no longer are forced to obey the dictates of the powers of sin that dwell in our adamic personality.

The total forgiveness combined with the work of the Holy Spirit as He guides and empowers us releases us from the rule of sin.

The ultimate deliverance, which is to come at the appearing of the Lord, will accomplish our total deliverance from the rule of sin. The ultimate deliverance has two phases:

The making alive of our mortal body (Romans 8:11).

The clothing of our redeemed mortal body with our "house from heaven" (II Corinthians 5:2).

If we have been faithful to sow to the Spirit of God, that is, to follow the Spirit as He leads us in the walk of holiness, there is an increase of resurrection life in our new reborn personality. Our thinking, speaking, and acting increasingly are guided by the Spirit into the righteous ways of the Lord. The body and blood of Jesus are continually fed to our inner man as we learn to live by Christ as He lives by the Father.

When the Lord appears He will look for His own Substance and Nature in us. If He finds them He will adopt us as sons of God by gathering our mortal remains wherever they have been interred, ridding them of all vestiges of sin and rebellion and filling them with the Holy Spirit of God. This is the redemption of the mortal body. 

And not only they [the material creation], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)

We have been completely forgiven, we have overcome the sinful tendencies of the body, and finally the body itself has been filled with the Spirit of God in place of flesh-and-blood mortal life. Sin no longer is able to govern us because of the grace of God given in the new covenant.

If we have been totally faithful in our discipleship, during our preliminary steps toward righteousness, then when the Lord appears we will be furnished with an even more aggressive righteousness, a crown of righteousness. As we have been brought down to death by painful and weakening circumstances and have been raised again by the Lord, a "house from heaven," an eternal weight of glory, has been formed before the Throne of God in Heaven.

When the Lord returns He will reward those who have overcome sin through the Spirit of God by clothing their redeemed mortal body with their house from Heaven, their white robe, their body of glory, their crown of righteousness and life. This is the "gold upon the wood" of the Ark of the Covenant. 

For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (II Corinthians 5:1)

And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about. (Exodus 25:10,11)

The wood (humanity) is overlaid first on the inside and then on the outside with pure gold (Divinity purified in the fire of tribulation). Today our inner nature is being overlaid with the Divine Nature. When the Lord comes our outward nature, our body, will be overlaid with the Divine Nature.

The Law of Moses enabled sin to be our master by condemning the sinful tendencies of our personality while providing no means of deliverance (other than the required animal sacrifices—a temporary, partial solution).

The grace of God under the new covenant removes the rule of sin by forgiving us, empowering us to overcome sin in this life, redeeming our mortal body at the appearing of the Lord, and crowning us with a body that has been fashioned in Heaven as we have been changed each day into the death of the Lord and raised in newness of life in union with His resurrection.

Sin shall not have dominion over God’s sons!

Verse fifteen. 

What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. (Romans 6:15)

Because God has so freely forgiven us through Christ, does this give us the liberty to live as we choose? Absolutely not! If new-covenant grace were a license to sin, then we would know there had been a change in God. God always has desired that man behave justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Any change in God would be the very worst of all possible calamities. If God changes it would be best we never had been born.

If the holy city, the new Jerusalem, is to be filled with people who have not been delivered from sin or self-will but are abiding in a continual state of forgiveness, it would be better we never had existed. Relationships would continue for eternity as they are in today’s miserable state.

Contrary to the current teaching and preaching, new-covenant grace is not the Divine excuse for the sins of mankind. New-covenant grace is the inscribing of the eternal moral law of God in the minds and hearts of people, transforming them into the image of Christ and bringing them into complete, restful union with the Father through Christ.

For us to continue to walk in sin after receiving Christ is for the dog to return to its vomit. 

But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, the dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. (II Peter 2:22)

Verse sixteen. 

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:16)

Slavery has been practiced from the beginning of history. Of late, as human beings have sought to place human rights above all other values, slavery is being viewed as one of the greatest of all evils.

Social slavery has been abolished in the democratic nations. But the so-called "free nations" are in the worst moral chains of all time. The slavery to the powers of darkness of the so-called "free" people must be a continual source of amusement to Satan and his followers.

Angels are spiritual entities. Man has not been created to be an entity. It is not good for man to be alone. He is male or female, that is, designed to be completed by union with another. The trait of love, found in people but perhaps not in the same manner in angels, causes us to seek union with God and with other people. We are not content to be independent beings.

It is true also that whether we like it or not we always will be governed by someone or something. It is impossible for us to be free in the sense of being independent, of not being ruled.

Because the Divine Nature has been given to us in the form of Christ, we now have the authority and ability to choose to be a slave of God, an obedience that leads to righteousness.

We are required, under the new covenant, to make a choice between obeying sin and becoming the slave of sin, or obeying God and becoming the slave of God. We do not have the alternative of being the slave of neither. If we do not actively become the slave of God we automatically continue as a slave to sin. He who sins is always the slave of sin. No person can be the master of sin, he always is the slave of the sin he practices. 

Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant [slave] of sin. (John 8:34)

Verse seventeen. 

But God be thanked, that ye were the servants [slaves] of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. (Romans 6:17)

Before we came to Christ we were a slave of sin. Because we decided to obey the teaching of the Apostles we have become the slave of righteousness.

This verse reveals how important it is we obey the teaching of the Apostles. The concept that we cannot possibly obey the doctrine of the Apostles because of our sinful nature comes from Satan. As we seek the Lord’s Presence and help we can do what the Scripture commands. The Christian doctrine of today does not set us free from sin and bring us into slavery to righteousness. Rather, it promotes the idea that while we are in the world we are compelled to remain in slavery to sin.

The Christian Gospel has become one of forgiveness alone. The Lamb of God no longer takes away the sin of the world (it is maintained), He merely forgives it. The Son of God no longer destroys the works of the devil, He forgives them. Instead of release from sin we are forgiven our sins so that when we die we can go to a better land where it is not possible to sin. Even in this we have been mistaken. The truth is, it always is possible to sin in Paradise. Sin began around the Throne of God in Heaven.

The Gospel has been grievously corrupted in our day. The believers continue in slavery to sin. Imputed (ascribed) righteousness has been emphasized to the virtual exclusion of created righteousness. The Lord no longer is our righteousness by impartation and union, only by imputation and identification.

False teaching has destroyed the Kingdom of God. The blind are leading the blind and all are in the ditch as far as an understanding of the new covenant is concerned.

Verse eighteen. 

Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants [slaves] of righteousness. (Romans 6:18)

The current teaching is that we are free from the Law of Moses to do as we please and Christ will keep on forgiving us. It is an eternal amnesty that cannot be abrogated whether or not we serve the Lord. Grace has become a sovereign viewpoint of God that operates independently of our life on the earth. The current teaching is a snare to our feet and a delusion to our mind.

The truth is, we must pass from one slavery to another—not just out of slavery but from one slavery to another, from one master to another. We were the slave of sin. Now we no longer are the slave of sin but the slave of righteousness.

We were divorced from Moses that we may be married to Christ, not that we might kick up our heels as an unattached entity.

Righteousness is our master. Whatever we think, say, or do is to be governed by righteousness. The law of righteousness is fulfilled when we love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. Love does not harm his neighbor. Righteousness commands that we act justly, that we love mercy, and that we walk humbly with God.

We are not free to do as we please. We no longer are in slavery to the lusts of the body but we are in slavery to the power of righteousness that proceeds from the Throne of God in Heaven.

Verse nineteen. 

I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. (Romans 6:19)

Our spirit is willing but our flesh is weak. Paul uses the practice of slavery to make clear to our weak flesh that we are required to cease offering our body as a slave to moral filthiness and ever-increasing evil. We are required, under grace, to offer the members of our body as slaves to righteousness.

Slavery to righteousness leads to holiness. Holiness in its purest and ultimate form is Christ. There is nothing found in Christ that is not found in the Father. There is to be nothing found in us that is not found in Christ. There is to be nothing of Satan in us, only that which is of Christ.

The Divine redemption is Christ. When our adamic personality has been crucified and our new nature has been raised with Christ, then it is true that Christ is our Life. Every aspect of our personality is to be in Christ and of Christ. The life, righteousness, holiness, love, joy, peace, self-control that we seek—all is Christ. The Presence of Christ is release from slavery to sin.

The new covenant is Christ. By becoming part of Christ we become the new covenant. We become righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God. Such union and possession are the highest form of the Kingdom of God. They are the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the total fulfillment of the eternal law of God. Such union and possession are the only true and eternal holiness.

Verse twenty. 

For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. (Romans 6:20)

Paul makes a very strong point of comparing slavery to sin and slavery to righteousness, and the results of each form of slavery. It would be helpful today if God’s preachers and teachers would stress this comparison with equal intensity.

The comparison made today is between "accepting" and "not accepting" Christ. Salvation is viewed in these terms. The concept is that once you accept Christ the sin problem has been solved. You now are on your way to Heaven. While you ought to try to do good in order to please Jesus, or to show your appreciation for His love, your behavior is not critically important.

In our day we have not only numerous demons to resist and a humanistic society to contend with, but in addition there are newly arrived lords of the spirit realm that have been driven from the heavenlies. Some people are "channeling" these ancient potentates. They have been tricked by them and are permitting the fallen lords to use their bodies.

With such titanic forces arrayed against us our feeble, fleshly attempts to "please Jesus," combined with the false assurance that no matter whether or not we succeed in pleasing Jesus our mansion in the spirit realm is secure, will leave our adamic, animal personality, with its body of sin, intact. No redemption will take place, no release from slavery to sin, no yielding to the control of righteousness.

God has made provision for the titanic forces arrayed against us. The Divine provision is union with the atoning death of Christ and union with His triumphant resurrection. These two aspects of our union with Christ are supremely powerful and result in the destruction of our adamic, animal nature and the bringing forth of a son in God’s image who is totally obedient to the Father—perfectly righteous and perfectly holy in and through Christ. This does not mean we are righteous and holy because Christ is righteous and holy but that the very righteousness and holiness of Christ have become our personality as we live by His body and blood instead of by our own wisdom and energy.

Verse twenty-one. 

What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. (Romans 6:21)

What was produced by our slavery to sin? Every form of corruption, humiliation, pain, sickness, destruction of all that we value, the loss of the respect of our family and loved ones, and spiritual death.

Sin is a hard master and pays off in misery and spiritual death.

In several instances in the Book of Romans Paul tells us that obedience to the body of sin results in death. Precisely what is spiritual death?

Spiritual death is the absence of the eternal Life of God.

There are two kinds of life. One kind is physical life. The other kind is eternal life.

Physical life is produced as the body burns cells, providing the energy and heat the body needs to operate. The body thus is able to grow, think, move, change its environment, speak, reproduce, and perform all other acts we associate with living. Physical life is corruptible and temporary.

Eternal life comes from Christ and is Christ. Eternal life also provides energy to perform the functions of living. Eternal life is different from physical life in that it is without sin and is in union with God. Also, eternal life is neither corruptible nor temporary.

The term resurrection refers to the animation of the body of a human being by spiritual force. All of the dead at one time or another shall stand before God in a spiritually-animated body. 

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28,29)

There is a resurrection that is not to life but to judgment. In this case, the body is animated by spiritual life but not the eternal Life of God. Satan and his angels are animated by unclean spiritual life rather than flesh and blood life. The spiritual life that animates the wicked is not the Holy Spirit of God.

The bodies of the righteous dead will be animated with the eternal Life of Christ. Eternal life had been available to mankind in the garden of Eden. Access to eternal life was lost because of the rebellion of our ancestors. The goal of the redemption that is in Christ is to attain to the first resurrection, the resurrection that animates the body with the incorruptible resurrection Life of Christ. 

If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [Greek, out-resurrection] of the dead. (Philippians 3:11)

Let us keep in mind that eternal life is not a legal state in which we live forever. All spirits live forever in one form or another. Eternal life cannot be imputed (ascribed) to us, it is an actual Presence, virtue, substance, energy, wisdom that are given to us.

When we first receive Christ we are given a portion of His Life. God’s intention after this initial gift is that we become the slave of righteousness, thus entering ever-increasing eternal life. Our Christian discipleship is a continual warfare as death and life struggle for supremacy over our personality.

The objective is to keep pressing into eternal life until we attain to the resurrection to eternal, incorruptible Divine life. The Lord Jesus came that we might have abundant eternal life.

Each day a portion of evil confronts us in the form of lust, unforgiveness, rage, doubt, fear, discouragement, drunkenness, sorcery, or some other aspect of spiritual darkness and death.

Each day we choose either to call upon the Lord to help us put down the evil and live in His eternal Life, in His body and blood, or else to yield to the invitation to dwell in the darkness of sin.

If we choose to live in Christ’s eternal Life, a portion of our adamic personality dies and is replaced with eternal life.

If we choose to yield to the invitation to continue in sin and rebellion against the righteous ways of the Lord, no change occurs in our sin nature and the eternal life we received in the beginning is weakened.

It is entirely possible to lose the eternal life given when we received Christ. It is entirely possible to slay our own resurrection unto life. 

They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. (Luke 8:13,14)

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:2)

"Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away."

Well-intentioned teachers make plays on words and draw analogies to "prove" that once we have eternal life we cannot lose it. The Scripture clearly states otherwise.

Eternal life is not a legal state or an intangible we cannot perceive. The mature Christian will know of people who began in the way of righteousness and then drew back into the pleasures of the world. The difference in their personality is noticeable. The glow of the Lord has departed. The "oil" has gone from their lamp. Eternal life has slipped away. That which would have raised them at the appearing of Jesus has departed. By choosing sin they have died spiritually.

Today’s teaching that we cannot lose our eternal life by sinning is a deadly error, a destructive teaching. As we have said, the blind are leading the blind and they both are in the ditch of spiritual death.

The Word states "the end of those things is death."

Are we to claim that these words are addressed to the unsaved? Is it not indisputably clear that the Apostle Paul is warning believers that if they choose to be servants of sin they will die spiritually? 

For if ye live in the appetites of the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

"If ye [believers] live in the appetites of the flesh, ye shall die [spiritually]."

"Ye shall die."

Let us recognize that the teaching of today, including the footnotes in the Christian editions of the Scriptures, are promoting deadly error. It is time for a reformation of Christian thinking. The overemphasis on grace and mercy is no trivial theological error. It comes directly from Satan and creates moral havoc in people.

Dispensationalism is a destructive model of interpretation. The lawless-grace-rapture-Heaven model of salvation is erroneous. We have been deceived. Salvation is not from earth to Heaven but from death to life, and these two objectives are not the same.

Verse twenty-two. 

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. (Romans 6:22)

We have been set free from the guilt of sin by entering the crucifixion of the righteous Jesus. We are being set free from the force of sin by the power of the Holy Spirit.

It is of supreme importance we do not stop at this point. We must choose to become the slave of God. When we do not turn from slavery to sin and choose to be the slave of God, the freedom we have received through our union with the crucifixion of Jesus loses its intent. We abort the purpose of our release from the Law of Moses.

The benefit we receive from being the slave of God is holiness. Slavery to God results in our holiness.

The result of slavery to God, and the resulting holiness, is eternal life. Eternal life is our objective. Eternal life cannot be imputed (assigned to us as a legal state apart from actual possession by us); it is a kind of life that results from slavery to God and holiness of behavior.

Verse twenty-three. 

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

Sin pays off in loss of the Presence of God (which is loss of eternal life), every conceivable distress, agony, corruption, futility, and finally physical death.

The gift of God is the eternal Life that is the Presence of God in Christ.

The word "gift" must be defined by all that Paul has written in the sixth chapter of Romans. Eternal life is not a gift handed to us that requires no action on our part. The gift of eternal life is like the gift of a piano. The gift of a piano does not enable us to play Beethoven and Bach. Rather, the gift of a piano opens a window of opportunity so we may learn, after numerous hours of disciplined practice, to play Beethoven and Bach.

To receive the fullness of eternal life at the coming of the Lord requires that we sow our body to the death of the cross and our inner nature to the resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus.

The approach to eternal life is not one of mental orientation to correct facts of theology but of sowing to the Spirit of God. 

So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: (I Corinthians 15:42,43)

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:8)

Galatians 6:8 parallels Romans 6:23 and Romans 8:13. If the Christian chooses to live in the appetites of his flesh he will reap corruption in the Day of the Lord. Grace and mercy operate now, not in the Day of the Lord. What we reap in the Day of the Lord depends strictly on what we sow today.

The believer who spends each day seeking to follow the Holy Spirit of God will grow in eternal Life today, and in the Day of the Lord he will be crowned with eternal Life, with the Presence of God in Christ. Think of living in the holy, glorious, joyous, peaceful Presence of God for the eternity of eternities! 

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (I Timothy 6:12)

"Lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called."

We are called to eternal life and we have to fight the good fight of faith in order to lay hold on it. Eternal life is not just handed to us because we say Jesus is Lord. The concept that eternal life is handed to us because we say Jesus is Lord comes from taking one or two verses from the Gospels or from the writings of Paul, removing them from their contexts, and using them as "key verses" from which we deduce a formula.

As a brother once explained, every verse of the Scriptures must be interpreted in the light of the entire Scriptures. Every verse of the Scriptures has an assigned weight, a specific value in the equation that equals eternal life. When we give a verse or passage a value different from its assignment in the entire Scriptures the equation no longer is correct.

All men are dead spiritually because all have sinned. But God, through the Lord Jesus Christ, has made it possible for us to turn from death and embrace the ways of eternal life. The unsaved have no choice. Only those who are of Christ have the choice to continue to yield to darkness and spiritual death, or to turn away from the darkness and become the slave of righteousness, thus attaining to eternal life.

As we began our discussion of the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans we quoted Paul as stating we are "dead to sin." Then we gave three possible interpretations of Paul’s statement:

The sin nature is dead in us and we no longer have sinful desires.

It does not matter too much if we sin because God does not regard what a believer does as being sinful.

Sinful behavior is not appropriate, reasonable, expected, or desirable because we have taken our place with Christ on the cross and in so doing have declared our adamic personality to be dead with Christ and our new nature to be risen with Christ.

From our comments above, what do you believe would be the likely interpretation? 

Ministry by Means of Death and Resurrection

We have just studied how we are set free from the authority of the Law of Moses, from the guilt of sin, from the force of sin, and from slavery to our self-will.

As we grow in eternal life the time arrives when we are ready to influence other people. The resurrection life that is releasing us from slavery to sin has become strong enough to reach out and release others.

The crucifixion of Christ, into which we have entered by faith in order to gain release from sin and self-will, now becomes more of a reality. Things happen to us that conform us to the death of Christ, that bring us continually down to weakness and death. 

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. (II Corinthians 4:8-10)

We now are sharing the sufferings of Christ. We actually are experiencing the kind of death He died.

We are speaking of the saint who has grown in eternal life until he is ready to bring the Divine Life to others.

We see the pattern in the Book of Ezekiel.

The portrayal is that of the person who comes to the Door of the house (Christ—the Door of the eternal Temple of God) and then looks eastward to the coming of the Lord. 

Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side. (Ezekiel 47:1,2)

Immediately the seeker is faced with judgment (the man with the line in his hand) and with the waters of eternal life. Judgment and eternal life always go together, as we noted in the sixth chapter of Romans. The flaming sword of the judgment of God still turns in every direction to guard the way of the tree of life. Eternal life is given only as we choose continually (make a judgment) to turn away from wickedness and to yield to the righteous ways of the Lord. 

And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ancles. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. (Ezekiel 47:3-5)

As we move toward the Day of the Lord, toward the fullness of eternal life, there are waters to the ankles—the beginning stage of redemption. Then waters to the knees—the Spirit of God is beginning to affect our walk, that is, the Holy Spirit is enabling us to live a holy life.

We press into waters to the loins—the place of strength and reproduction, dominion and fruitfulness. If we keep moving forward there are waters to swim in—the fullness of life lived in the eternal Spirit of God.

What is next? 

And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river. (Ezekiel 47:6)

We are brought back to the "brink of the river" in order that we may grow there as a tree of life. Then out from our belly flows the river of life that brings eternal life to the dead sea of mankind. With the greatest joy we bring forth water from the wells of salvation so whoever chooses to do so may drink freely of Divine Life. 

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Psalms 1:3)

Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:3)

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17)

And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. (Ezekiel 47:9)

The Glory of the Lord shall cover the earth when the waters of eternal life make alive the dead sea of mankind.

This is the experience the Apostle Paul was having. 

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. (II Corinthians 4:11,12)

Paul always was being brought down to the death of the cross. Paul always was being raised by the resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus. The overflow of the Divine Life was bringing release and eternal Life to those to whom the Apostle Paul was ministering. The eternal life that proceeded from the "death" of Paul continues to bring release and Life to this very moment. 

And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. (Acts 16:25,26)

"Every one’s bands were loosed" when the Apostles were released from prison.

The overflow of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus always brings the dead out of their graves. 

And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. (Matthew 27:52,53)

All true ministry comes from the cross. It is only as we are brought down to death and then raised by the Lord that we are able to bring His Presence and Life to other people. 

Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (II Corinthians 1:4)

The crucifixion and resurrection that deliver us from sin and death are the only true source of resurrection life for those to whom we minister.

Conclusion—Obtaining a Better Resurrection

Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: (Hebrews 11:35)

The goal of the Christian discipleship is to obtain a "better resurrection" in the future. In order to accomplish our goal we must not "accept deliverance" in the present hour: this is to say, we must deny ourselves now and press into the sufferings and resurrection of the Lord. We must put all of our treasures in Heaven. We must set our affection on things above where Christ and we are seated at the right hand of God.

In the beginning we sold ourselves to Satan to be his slaves. As a result we were driven from the garden so we would be unable to partake of the tree of life and live forever.

Now the Redeemer has come and paid the price for our release. But the wicked one will not permit his slaves to leave even though the price of their release has been paid in full.

The only solution is the imposition of force, of total war. God’s Israel stands now on the brink of Jordan, so to speak, ready to go across and seize the land of promise. The land of promise is the fullness of incorruptible Life in God’s Presence throughout the eternity of eternities.

The sons of God, the victorious saints, will be a firstfruits of the vine of the earth. Through the Lord Jesus Christ they shall overcome the accuser of the brothers and enter eternal life. The last enemy to be overcome is physical death. The conquering saints will enter life and lead the way for the remainder of the saved creation.

We understand, therefore, that the heart, the mainspring of the new covenant is union with the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus and union with His triumphant resurrection.

Because we have died and been buried with the Lord, the Law of Moses no longer has authority over us. We are legally free to follow another Master, to be married to another Bridegroom.

Because of our union with the Lord in His death and resurrection the blood atonement has enabled the God of Heaven to forgive all our sin so we are guiltless in His sight.

Because we have died with the Lord and have risen from the dead with Him we can, through the Holy Spirit, put to death the deeds of our sinful flesh. We can gain the upper hand over the forces of darkness in us that would deceive us into behaving in a manner the Lord God does not accept.

Because we are one with the Lord in His death and resurrection we will, if we faithfully abide in Him and continue to hide our life with Him in God, receive the redemption of our mortal body at His appearing.

Because of our union with the Lord in His death and resurrection we will, if we have patiently endured tribulation and have consistently sown to the Holy Spirit of God, be given a glorified body from Heaven that will clothe our redeemed mortal body.

Because we have counted our adamic nature as crucified with Christ and our new inner nature as risen with Him to the right hand of the Father, because we have pursued the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being changed into His death by the tribulations of life, we have been set free from that worst of all monsters—self-will.

Because we have been willing to give over our first personality to the death of the cross and to live by faith in His resurrection Life and power, we have become a source of righteousness and Life for unnumbered multitudes of people.

We have set as the supreme goal of our life attainment to the first resurrection from the dead, the resurrection found in the Person of the Lord at His appearing. Because He Himself is the Resurrection and the Life, dwelling in His Presence and Life for eternity is our eternal goal. All else is trash.

Let us not be lazy and careless. It is time to take the Kingdom. The Kingdom is Christ Himself—life lived in His Presence. The rewards go to those who, through the Lord Jesus, overcome all opposition. The prize is marvelous beyond all description. Whoever will choose to do so can gain the fullness of the inheritance.

REVIEW

In this book we have discussed what might be termed the mainspring, the principal factors and driving force of the new covenant, the Christian redemption.

The mainspring is broken.

God's intention has been thwarted.

In many instances the Gospel no longer is producing godly people.

The false doctrines of "free grace" and the any-moment pre-tribulation "rapture," because of the false sense of security they engender, have brought much confusion and caused many believers to lapse into sin.

The secular governments have lost their moral direction because the "light of the world," the good works of Christ's believers, has been extinguished.

If we do not have widespread repentance on the part of God's people, a return to godly living and godly preaching, our nation is doomed.

The preachers of today have stressed Divine grace as an alternative to godly living, claiming that if a person "confesses Christ" he is saved whether or not he lives a righteous life. What can such teaching do other than destroy the moral strength of the churches?

The teachers of today have stressed the building of churches and large numbers of people in attendance rather than the moral transformation of the believers. What can we expect other than the fleshly, self-willed congregations we now have?

The terror of the Lord has departed from us. We do not work out our own salvation with fear and trembling We believe we need have no fear of the Judgment Seat of Christ. Is it any wonder sin abounds?

The ministers of today are preaching "Slip up your hand, let Jesus into your heart," instead of "Repent!" We have changed the Gospel message. People get "saved" without repenting, which is to say they get "healed" without being healed.

We are assuming that every person who makes a profession of Christ will rise to meet Him in the air at His appearing. We are not doing what Paul commanded. We are not seeking to know the power of Christ's resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.

We are ignorant of the need to overcome, assuming that all the rewards assigned to the overcomer will be given to the defeated believer on the basis of "grace."

We are assuming that eternal life, glorification, and all the rewards to the victorious saint are imputed (ascribed) to us whether or not there is any effort or change on our part.

We are emphasizing we are saved by faith alone apart from any actual transformation of personality, any new creation. "The just shall live by faith" has come to mean if we believe the facts of redemption—facts known to be true by the demons—we will go to Paradise when we die.

We think it is acceptable for us leave Moses and yet not marry Christ, remaining a spiritual single bound by no law.

We view the Christian salvation as a device to save the unchanged natural man and to bring him to a spiritual-material paradise on the basis of "grace."

None of the above is true. None of the above is of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

The true salvation, the only true Divine redemption, takes place as the believer enters the atoning death of the Lord Jesus and His triumphant resurrection. Flesh and blood cannot possibly enter the Kingdom of God. It is only as we change from a mortal soul to a life-giving spirit that we enter the Kingdom of God.

Salvation is the Lord Jesus Christ. To the extent we possess Him in our personality we possess salvation and all the riches of the glory of the inheritance of the sons of God. The part of our personality that is not of the Lord Jesus is corrupt and will still be corrupt in the Day of the Lord.