Copyright © 2017 by Robert B. Thompson.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
God gave us a new covenant because the Jews were not keeping His laws. Now we believers are teaching that we have a better covenant under which we do not have to keep God’s moral precepts! Jews who are adhering to the Law of Moses will probably lead more righteous lives than the Christians trusting in grace to bring them to Heaven.
Is it actually true that after we say we believe in Jesus, God does not see the sins we commit and does not hold us accountable? If this really is the case, much of what the Apostles wrote to the Christian churches is in error. After studying the Bible for a number of years, I have come to the conclusion that when I first became a Christian, I was taught error—the error that grace prevents God from seeing our sinning. I believe the Bible teaches that even though we profess to have “accepted Christ,” living according to the appetites of our flesh will result in condemnation in the day of resurrection.
Those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. (John 5:29—NIV)
If we overcome temptation each day, building up a wall against sin, we will be growing in Christ. But if we do not build up a wall against sin, then, when a severe temptation comes upon us, we will yield to Satan and much or all we have built in Christ will be destroyed. This is why Nehemiah and his helpers concentrated on the wall and gates before they could restore the Temple.
The Bible commands us to practice righteousness: to walk uprightly, to be morally clean, and to love mercy. Or does it mean that these virtues merely are ascribed to us who believe in Jesus? Which of the two conditions is the image of God?
Is the Christian salvation all about pretending we are in the image of God and are behaving as God behaves?
Picture if you will a large, ornate mansion surrounded by an eight-foot tall brick wall. The three-story mansion is so large its foundation would cover a city block. There is a gate at the front of the wall. Through the gate, you can see an altar on which animals were sacrificed. In order to go through the gate and approach the shining white door of the mansion, individuals must ask forgiveness of their sins—that they may be forgiven by the sacrifice made on this altar. As one goes through the gate and walks toward the door of the mansion, there is a large basin of water. Believers are told they must be baptized in water in order to enter the Kingdom of God. After the baptism has taken place, the door, which has a pillar on each side, swings open. Standing just inside the mansion stands a tall, smiling angel, saying, you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior. You now may enter the Kingdom of God.
As you pause on the threshold and look around, you notice a long hallway. There are rooms on each side of the hallway. Each room is identified by a projecting sign that tells what is in the room. The signs are interesting: The New Creation; Attaining to the Resurrection; The Rest of God; The Full Stature of Christ; Deliverance From Sin; The Fullness of God; Receiving the Divine Nature. “The Fullness of God” might be an experience you would desire. So you begin to walk toward that room.
As you start to go to the room that tells about the Fullness of God, the angel who greeted you and was standing at the door, says, “Wait.” “This entire mansion, with its numerous rooms, belongs to you by grace,” he announces. “It is all part of the Lord Jesus. You need not explore or claim any of it. Jesus has assigned it all to you because you believe in Him. “There is absolutely nothing you must do but announce that you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Jesus has experienced all of the rooms. He has done it all for you. Your part is to believe and receive.
“If you attempt to enter any of the rooms, a loud voice will proclaim, ‘Do not try to go into any of the rooms. That would be to seek to enter the Kingdom by works. Just realize that by believing in Jesus you now are in possession of the entire Kingdom of God. There is absolutely nothing you must do but believe that the Kingdom is your inheritance.’”
A few years ago, at one of our church services, a documentary was shown. It portrayed a middle-aged couple who had gone to a remote village. They did not speak to the natives concerning the Gospel. They merely lived among them and demonstrated kindness and integrity. The villagers soon came to love and trust them.
When the two missionaries were satisfied they had gained the confidence of the natives, they told the Headman about the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. They then spoke of water baptism.
The Headman proceeded to teach his people about the blood atonement and commanded that they all be baptized in water. Once every person, young and old, had been baptized, the Headman came to the missionaries and asked, “What do we do now?”
They responded, “Absolutely nothing. You are complete in Jesus.”
Absolutely nothing! I will never forget those words. They believed that once you believe and are baptized, anything you do to try to enter the Kingdom is dead works. There is no salvation to be worked out with fear and trembling. Just believe that Jesus is your Lord and Savior and that He has done it all for you.
It came to my attention recently that believers worldwide are being told that, by grace, all that Jesus is and has accomplished has been given to us by our saying, “I accept Christ as my Lord and Savior.”
This makes the Christian redemption a form of schizophrenia. We do not really gain deliverance from the sins of the flesh or from our self-will and self-centeredness. We just pretend that we do.
God forgives us through the blood atonement made by our Lord on the cross of Calvary. But forgiveness is as far as the Divine redemption can take us. We cannot really be made in Christ a new creation of righteous behavior. This is what is taught, even though on the Jewish Day of Atonement, two goats were employed. One goat was offered for the guilt of the sins of Israel. The other goat was let go into the wilderness to portray the removal of the sins themselves from Israel.
I felt a load on my back. How am I going to explain to Christians worldwide that they have not fully entered the salvation God has for them? After stating their belief in Christ, they are standing on the threshold of the Kingdom. There is a lifetime of discipleship ahead of them before they attain to the full stature of the Lamb of God.
In my opinion, this pursuit of God’s purpose in Christ continues in the spirit realm after we die, until we have been made perfect in Christ. The Bible says the ministry of the Apostles will continue until we have attained to the full stature of Christ, and this includes bringing the believers in the spirit world to perfection along with us.
Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:13)
To the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, (Hebrews 12:23)
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:39,40)
“The spirits of the righteous made perfect.”
I was miserable with the thought of being responsible to explain to Christians worldwide the fulness of God’s salvation. Then God reminded me what He had proclaimed concerning His Son, Messiah Jesus: “On this Rock I will build My church and the gates of Hell shall not overcome it.” At that point the burden lifted from me, and I realized that all I have to do is to obey Christ an inch at a time and God will build His own church.
There is no Scriptural passage I know of that tells us physical death brings us to Heaven to automatically possess all the wonderful works of salvation we are told of in the New Testament. So it must be true, according to current teaching, that when we enter the spirit world, we are to keep on believing that God sees us through Christ, even though there is no support in the Scriptures for such a teaching.
Is the Christian salvation merely a pretend game, such as little children play with their dolls and stuffed toys? “We can have a party with our toys and pretend they eat and drink.” To little children, their dolls and stuffed toys really are eating and drinking.
Is this what our salvation is to be—a pretend game in which we claim to be a new creation, which we are not in actuality but only in our belief?
I am reminded of the Jews returning from the Babylonian captivity when King Cyrus came into power. By this time the granite walls of Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Babylonians and the wooden gates in the walls had been burned with fire. Nehemiah wept at the thought. But he did not say, let us believe that the walls have been rebuilt and the gates restored. If we have enough faith in God, such will be the case. Rather, Nehemiah traveled to the land of promise and promoted the work of rebuilding the wall and restoring the gates. It was hard work, but it finally was accomplished and the Temple of God was constructed. It was useless to rebuild the Temple until the walls and gates of protection had been erected.
Walls are important in the plan of God. We notice in Revelation chapter 21 the attention given to the jewels set in the foundation of the walls. The wall prevents what is spiritually unclean from entering the presence of God and His saints.
Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (Revelation 22:14,15)
We understand from the above that even at the time of the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus, there still will be people who are not in Hell or the Lake of Fire, but are prevented by the wall from destroying the Paradise that God has created.
It is the eternal responsibility of the members of the Royal Priesthood, who compose the new Jerusalem, to bring the Presence of God to such people and teach them the ways of God.
Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3)
The walls of resistance to sin and all uncleanness have been destroyed from numerous Christian churches. The main reason for this disaster is the definition of Divine grace as a covering for sinful behavior. Until the walls of resistance have been rebuilt, it is difficult to bring the believers to spiritual maturity.
The true definition of Divine grace is forgiveness through the blood of the cross and the giving of the Spirit of God to us. The Jews under Moses did not have the Spirit of God to help them do what the Lord had commanded. When we live in the Spirit of God, we have the wisdom and power necessary to drive all sin and self-seeking from our personality.
It is time now for all Christians to pray to draw closer to the Lord Jesus until they can hear what the Spirit is saying to them, turn from their sins and self-will, and serve the Lord as true disciples.
Until the believers understand that they have been deceived by the current teaching of grace, and seek to overcome all of the temptations to sin that come against them, Satan will continue to keep them immature, thus preventing them from driving evil from God’s creation.
Let us now arise and build. The walls have been torn down and the beams, doors, bolts and bars have been burned with the fires of deception.
Let us then enter the rooms of the New Creation: Attaining to the Resurrection; The Rest of God; The Full Stature of Christ; Deliverance From Sin; The Fullness of God; Receiving the Divine Nature.
There are those who are prepared to work in the present hour. Also there are careless believers who are willing to dawdle away their time while others are repairing the damage to the Church. Such will have eternity in which to consider their actions.
In the day of resurrection, great will be the rejoicing of those who have answered the call. Intense and prolonged will be agony of those who foolishly have occupied themselves with the fascinations of the present world culture.
How wonderful will be the gladness of heart of those who have diligently followed the Spirit of God as He has led them to build the walls of Jerusalem, so to speak. How piercing will be the agony of those who do not seek the Lord while He is near.
How exalted will be the mountains of glory who have immersed themselves in the Persons of God and Christ, who have answered the call at this time. They have fasted from the delights of the present world culture. How horrible will be the despair of those who find themselves clothed with filthy diapers in the day of resurrection while they can observe the righteous shining like luminaries in the firmament.
Those who have responded to the present call will have an inheritance of God and people, ready to expand throughout the eternity of eternities that are on the horizon.
The Spirit of God is as a Servant at this time. His task is to present to the Lamb a wife who in every detail is compatible with the Lamb in all the aspects of His existence and service to the Father. She is the eternal counterpart and helper of the Lamb.
They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless. (Revelation 14:4,5)
I have been writing books and articles for more than forty years concerning the aspects of growth in Christ that I have experienced. They are freely available at http://wor.org/book. I do not imagine that my few scribblings contain all the richness and fullness of our growth in Messiah Jesus. But they may prove to be a start for those in whose hearts God has put the eternal longing to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Why don’t you and I ask the Lord Jesus how we can build a wall against sin to protect our own personality.
Perhaps we should ask God what role we as an individual should play in rebuilding the wall and gates of Jerusalem (the Christian Church).
Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (II Corinthians 7:1)
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13)
(“Pretend Games”, 4294-2, proofed 20210808)