Five Christian Categories

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In the book, Insanity of Obedience, author Nik Ripken,  lists five Christian categories by  Paul Marshall.  Mr. Ripken has served as a missionary in several African countries including Sudan. He has spent a significant number of years meeting with persecuted Christians around the globe to document their experience and expand the church’s understanding of persecution. I heartily recommend this book and his first book, Insanity of God.

The term “Christian” is used in various ways in different cultures and, as a result, is sometimes hard to define. These categories are not perfect but help us to get a handle on a definition. Please review the list and see which category you fit into.

1. “Census Christians are people who, if asked about their religion, would say, “Christian.” This designation might not relate at all to anything that these people believe or practice. Often, this is a cultural answer. If asked about their religion in certain geographic areas, for example, many people might answer, “Of course I’m a Christian. Isn’t everybody?” These people, according to Marshall, are “census Christians”. On a census, these people would check the “Christian” box.  What the designation actually means is anybody’s guess.”

2. “Member Christians claim some sort of identification with a particular Christian institution or organization. Again, this does not mean that these people necessarily participate or even show up at their church. These people simply have some sort of personal connection with a church and they identify themselves with that church. They might say, “I am Catholic,” or “I am Baptist,” or “I am Methodist.”

3.”Practicing Christians actually participate in the life of a church. They typically attend worship services. In some fashion, these people are involved in the forms and rituals of the faith. Often their connection with the church is limited to weddings, baptisms, and funerals.”

4.”Believers (or Committed Believers) are people for whom the Christian faith is central and shaping. These Christians strive to live out their faith and communicate their faith to others. To use the language of the evangelical world, the people have a personal relationship with Jesus. Often they will use the language of John 3 and talk about being “born again”.

5.”Hidden Christians are people who believe secretly. Fearful of persecution, these people keep their faith to themselves. In some settings, these believers might keep their faith secret from government officials and employers.  In other settings, they might keep their faith secret from even family members and friends. These believers might not even experience specifics acts of outward persecution, but the fear of persecution has caused their faith to be completely inward. For the most part, their faith, though real, is hidden. In most cases, they have not “joined” a church, though this might be an artificial measurement since, in many settings, there is no official institutional church to join.”

Did you fit in anywhere?  We hope so. If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Savior, we would love to send you some literature if you would send us your address.

The articles on this blog are geared to the encouragement and exhortation of the Believers (or Committed Believers) and Hidden Christians. Of course, everyone is welcome and we hope all deepen their walk with God through Jesus Christ.  Thank you for your time. May God bless you!!

“Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord know those who are His,” and “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness.” (2 Timothy 2:19)

Carl

Part Six : “…to the saints…”

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Religion which is pure and undefiled in the sight of God, even the Father, is this: to look after orphans and widows…and to be keeping one’s self unspotted from the world.”  (James 1:27) (Emphasis mine)

As the earth rises over the surface of the moon in this NASA photograph, I hope the truth about the world is rising in your consciousness as you read this conclusion to the blogs concerning the Lord Jesus rescuing repentant sinners from this present evil age. (Galatians 1:4)  To access the other five parts on this subject, scroll to the end of this post.

There is one word in the New Testament (NT) that describes born again believers and their relationship to the world.  When the Apostle Paul writes the Ephesians, he addresses his letter  “…to the saints,…”.   The word translated “saints” in the English language is “hagios” in the Greek language and to the Greek it meant “devoted to the gods”.  The Greeks used it when they dedicated a temple or a person to the worship and service of one of their pagan gods.

Our New Testament authorities tell us the English  words “saint, sanctify, sanctification, hallow, holy, holiness” are all translations of Greek words from the root word hagi. The verb hagios means “to set apart for God”,  and refers to the act of the Holy Spirit setting apart for God the sinner who places his faith in Jesus Christ “rescuing us from the domain of darkness and transferring us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” .
(Colossians 1: 13).

The writers of the NT used this word hagios to designate those people who have been separated from the world, Satan’s kingdom, for the purpose of worshiping and serving the true God through His Son, Jesus Christ. 

The Holy Spirit, through the NT writers, took this word to a higher level by adding a moral component not found in pagan usage. The pagan religions were not concerned with the morals of its followers. The major pagan temple in Corinth had 3000 “sacred” harlots.  The eastern religions were very immoral and this is why many Greeks and Romans were drawn to the Jewish religion with it’s high moral standards.  In the book of Acts you see Paul preaching in the synagogue to Jews and Gentiles.

Concerning our behavior or morals, the God that we have been “set apart to” says this to us, His adopted children:

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who has called you, be holy yourselves also in your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY , FOR I AM HOLY.””
(I Peter 1: 14-16)

And in 2 Corinthians 6: 16- 7:1 God says:

“I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THERE GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. THEREFORE, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; and I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty. 

“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

Notice it is “let us cleanse ourselves“.  So after salvation, in 2 Peter 1: 4  we are told:

“….applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence,….”

Notice that the scripture says we should be diligent to add moral excellence to our faith. Moral excellence or virtue is “morally good behavior or character, or the conformity to a standard of right”.  Our Heavenly Father sets the standard of right behavior which is holiness or separation from what He says is evil. Not what we may think is evil but what He says is evil or defilement.  His standard is shown in the life of Jesus. The Holy Spirit gives the believer the desire and power to change his behavior which will result in him forsaking evil.  In other words, if we are a liar, we stop lying. If we are immoral, we stop being immoral. If we are greedy, we become a giver.  If we are one who hates, we become a forgiver and a lover of people.

Throughout the New Testament we are exhorted to forsake our futile way of life inherited from our forefathers and “become conformed to the image of His Son…” (Romans 8: 29).

In conclusion, the evil age that we live in is manifested in the evil characteristics of the kosmos (world), which is Satan’s ordered kingdom and the possible source of seduction of every born again believer. We have been separated from this evil by God at salvation and are separated to the worship and service of Him, being conformed to the image of His Dear Son over our lifetime and eternity and overcoming the world so that we do not consider it precious anymore.

Only by yielding daily to the Holy Spirit can you have the victory over Satan, your indwelling sinful nature and the world.  God is on our side and will give us the victory if we will just exercise our will to chose obedience to Him instead of sin and trust in the Holy Spirit to empower us to overcome.

ANYTHING in your worldly interaction that neutralizes or quenches your worship and service to God The Father, is not from the Father but is from the either the world, Satan or your own indwelling sinful nature as a source and should be repented of and forsaken.  The world is full of “unclean” things and we should not even “touch” them.

God bless you. I hope you have been blessed by this rather long study.  Thank you for your time.

” …He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him, who died and rose again on their behalf.”  (Emphasis mine – II Corinthians 5:15)

Carl

 

God’s Rescue of Man (Part 5)

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“Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.  And the world is passing away and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.” (I John 2: 15-17 NASB)

(To access the first four parts of this study scroll down at end of this blog.)

Welcome back. Man has created some lovely cities in the world. The aerial view above of Jakarta is beautiful. Many things in the world are pleasing to the senses of man but are  traps of the devil. Today we are continuing our study on Jesus rescuing us from this evil present age.  In this post we are looking at I John 2: 15-17 where God warns us about the world (kosmos).

In our last post we discussed the Apostle John’s command that said “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world.” (verse 15a)

John next writes “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him”.  This is a description of an unsaved person because the Greek experts tell us it is saying more than he just doesn’t love God but that the love of God does not dwell in him as the ruling principle of his life.  He is saying that in this person the love of God does not exist.  This love (agape) is the love for the Father that the Holy Spirit generates in the heart of the yielded believer.  Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5:5:

“…because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” 

This “love of God” is one of the characteristics of a born again believer and is expressed by obedience to Him.

Philo (20 B.C. – 50 A.D.) said “It is impossible for love of the world to coexist with love to God, as it is impossible for light and darkness to coexist.” This person is habitually and continually loving the world and the things in it. This is an unsaved person.

In II Peter 1: 4 the Apostle Peter tells us this corruption from the world comes by lust which here means evil cravings. Today we think of lust as immorality but it just means cravings in the NT and can be good or evil depending on the context.   In James 1:14 He tells us “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own craving.”

John continues in I John 2: 16 writing “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father but is from the world.”

The “lust of the flesh” is the passionate desires or cravings of the indwelling sinful nature (the flesh) which govern an individual’s reason, will, and emotions.  A Christian’s evil nature died on the Cross with Jesus but still exist within him.  It was not eradicated as some teach. Writing to believers, the Apostle John said : “If we say that we have not sinned and are now in a state where we do not sin, a liar we are making Him, and His word is not in us.” (I John 1:9).  Therefore, if not reckoned dead by the believer, his old indwelling sinful nature will continue to dominate his life.

One of the manifestations of the evil nature is the “lust of the eyes”. The evil, passionate  cravings of the sinful nature that satisfy itself through a person’s eyes.  Peter, speaking of false teachers, says they have “eyes full of adultery and that never cease from sin…”. In our day we have seen the rise of pornography and the increase in immoral TV shows and commercials that corrupts the person thru the lust of the eyes”.  This is also a portal for the sin of covetousness.  We see something someone has and we lust after it.

Another manifestation of the evil nature is the “boastful pride of life” which could be translated “vainglory of life”. This is an insolent and vain assurance in one’s own resources, or in the stability of earthly things, which issues in a contempt for divine law. Thayer defines it as “an insolent and empty assurance which trusts in its own power and resources and shamefully desires and violates divine laws and human rights”. Insolent means “showing a rude and arrogant lack of respect”.  If you find your prayer life waning or non-existent, check yourself for this misplaced assurance. If we really in our hearts are operating in the “boastful pride of life”, we order our lives in a way that we see no need to request God’s help thru prayer. If this is you, stop right now and repent and ask God to forgive you.

The word “life” (bios) refers to that which sustains life, such as, food, clothing, and shelter.

To pull this together for us, the Wuest Expanded Translation of I John 2: 15-17 says:

“Stop considering the world precious with the result that you love it, and the things in the world. If anyone as a habit of life is considering the world precious and is therefore loving it, there does not exist the love possessed by the Father in him. Because everything which is in the world, the passionate desire of the flesh and the passionate desire of the eyes, and the insolent and empty assurance which trusts in the things that serve the creature life, is not from the Father as a source but is from the world as a source. And the world is being caused to pass away, and its passionate desire. But the one who keeps on habitually doing the will of God abides forever.”

This completes part 4 of this blog. Part 6 will summarize this subject. I hope you will join me for it.

The “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” are from the world and not from God. Let each of us ask the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts and show us where we are ordering our conduct in these characteristics of the world so we can stop doing the will of the world ruler, Satan, and do the will of God.  He will do it and bless our obedience to Him!

“…if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been captive by him to do his will.”  (II Timothy 2:25 -26)

Thank you,

Carl

 

God’s Rescue of Man (Part 4)

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“…the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that He might rescue us out of this present evil age,…”  Galatians 1:4

(To see parts one through three, scroll down to the end of this blog.)

The picture, which is reported to be the largest outdoor mural in the world, is to me a good composite of mankind that Jesus came to rescue.  Notice the eyes that are looking to the side as if something has caught his attention. May Jesus catch man’s attention with His love.

Continuing our previous discussing on the corrupting influence of this evil age, God warns us about the world in I John 2: 15-17:

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”

We are commanded not to “love” (agapao) the world nor the things in the world. The Greek word for “love” in this context means “a love called out of one’s heart by the preciousness of the object loved.”  Apostle John was warning some believers to “Stop loving the world with a love called out of your hearts because of its preciousness.”. The verb used, speaks of the act of forbidding the continuance of an action already going on. The world system that God rescued them out of was still precious to them.  John was telling them to stop loving the world.

The Greek word for world here is kosmos and is defined by Vincent as follows:

“The sum-total of human life in the ordered world, considered apart from, alienated from, and hostile to God, and of the earthly things which seduce from God.”

Kenneth Wuest says:

“Kosmos refers to an ordered system. Here it is the ordered system of which Satan is the head, his fallen angels and demons are his emissaries, and the unsaved of the human race are his subjects, together with those purposes, pursuits, pleasures, practices, and places where God is not wanted. Much in this world-system is religious, cultured, refined, and intellectual.  But it is anti-God and anti-Christ.”

After reviewing the NT scriptures that use the word kosmos I put this composite together:

Jesus called Satan the “ruler of the world” (John 14:30) and the whole world lies in his power (I John 5:19). All unsaved people are deceived by Satan (Rev 12:9) by his blinding of their minds, (2 Cor 4:4) preventing the light of the gospel from shining in. Therefore the kosmos is a dark spiritual place and a place of bondage. This is why Jesus came as a Light into the kosmos. Ephesians 2:2 tells us there is a “course of this world” which is “according to the prince of the power of the air”,  unsaved people behave according to their cravings  for things of the world thinking this is the way to true happiness and fulfillment only to find out it is a satanic illusion. They love the world because it is precious to them (II Tim 4:10); have worldly values (I John 4:5) which manifest through their words (Titus 2:12), Paul tells us to avoid worldly and empty chatter (I Tim 6:20) and worldly fables (I Tim 4:7).  Jesus said there are “stumbling blocks” (Matt 18:7) in the world.

“Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world (John 18: 36). Jesus chose you, the born again believer, OUT of the world (John 15:19). After discipleship, Jesus sends His disciples back INTO the world (John 17:18) as lights in the world (Phil 2:5). Jesus prayed that the Father would not remove His disciples from the world but protect them from Satan (John 17:5). Believers can be conformed to the world (Rom 12:2, James 1:27) and be defiled by the world  (2 Pet 2:20). The “worries of the world” and the “deceitfulness of riches” choke out the word of God in the believer’s heart making him unfruitful in the things of God (Matt 13:22).  Disciples will have tribulations in the world but we will overcome the world (I John 5:4, I John 4: 17, John 12:25).  The abiding word of God makes believers strong and helps us to overcome Satan (1 John 2: 14) The saints will judge the world in the end times (I Cor 6:2).

In summary, the modern world (kosmos) we live in today exist in the same pernicious age (aion) that Paul and Peter lived in.  The moral characteristics of the age will not change until the Lord Jesus establishes His millennial reign on the earth.  Technology has leaped forward a thousand fold but the evil moral characteristics of man remain.  The predominate religion today is the false religion of works, whether it be works by themselves or mixed with belief in Jesus Christ.

This concludes our study of the world. Next post will explain the remainder of I John 2: 15-17.  Hope you will join us again.

May the Holy Spirit search our hearts to show us where we are still considering the world precious.  The next post will reveal some characteristics of the world.

“… because everything that has been born of God is constantly coming off victorious over the world. And this is the victory that has come off victorious over the world, our faith. Who is he who is constantly coming off victorious over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 

(I John 5: 4-5 Kenneth Wuest Expanded Translation)

Carl

 

 

God’s Rescue of Man (Part 3)

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“…the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might rescue us out of this present evil age…”   (Galatians 1:4)

“Be having salt in yourselves,..”   Lord Jesus  (Mark 9:50)

The twelve disciples had been walking down the road with Jesus and, among themselves, they had been debating which one of them was the greatest.  The Lord begins to correct them about how to be the greatest in the kingdom of God and warning them about temptation, sinning, and hell.  At the end of the conversation, He makes some comments about being “salted with fire” and salt.  In the interest of brevity, I will only address what is related to our discussion on the pernicious evil age and its corrupting influence.

When He mentioned salt, the Apostles minds would of probably immediately thought about how the law of Moses stated that temple sacrifices should be salted with salt. Secondly, they would of remembered that salt was a preserving agent.  Peter, John and James, all former fishermen,  may of used salt to preserve their catch of fish.

By having “salt” in themselves, it would prevent the corrupting influence of the evil pernicious age.  Remember the effect of the evil influence is likened to decay and rot on your morals or virtue. What does salt represent?  One fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5: 22-23 is self-control and I believe that is what Jesus is using salt to represent.  Self-control will keep you from being “carried away” or “towed” by Satan and enticed to sin.  It preserves your morals from decay and rot. The indwelling Holy Spirit gives us the ability to control our will.   We are told in II Peter 1: 5-6 to add the qualities of self-control or temperance to our lives. This would protect them and us from the corrupting influence of the age which Lord Jesus came to rescue us from.

Concerning salt in our lives, the Holy Spirit led me to Matthew Henry’s A Commentary On The  Whole Bible. Here are his comments written prior to 1721 A.D.:

The nature of man, being corrupt, and as such being called flesh (Gen. vi. 3; Ps. lxxviii. 39), some way or other must be salted, in order to its being a sacrifice to God.

“Our chief concern is, to present ourselves living sacrifices to the grace of God (Rom. xii. 1), and , in order to our acceptableness we must be salted with salt, our corrupt affections must be subdued and mortified, and we must have in our souls a savour of grace.  Thus the offering up or sacrificing of the Gentiles is said to be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, as the sacrifices were salted, Rom. xv. 16.

“Those that have the salt of grace, must make it appear that they have it; that they have salt in themselves, a living principle of grace in their hearts, which works out all corrupt dispositions, and every thing in the soul that tends to putrefaction, and would offend our God, or our own consciences, as unsavory meat doth.

“Our speech must be always with grace seasoned with this salt, that no corrupt communication may proceed out of our mouth, but we may loath it as much as we would to put putrid meat into our mouths. As this gracious salt will keep our own consciences void of offence, so it will keep our conversation with others so, that we may not offend any of Christ’s little ones, but may be at peace one with another.”

Did you notice how he compares the effects of the evil influence of the age to “putrid meat”, “unsavory meat” and “putrefaction” in the soul. This is the rot and decay that we mentioned earlier. He also mentions “our corrupt affections must be subdued and mortified”. “Mortified” is an old English word meaning ” to subdue and kill”; in the Christian sense “to reckon” dead as Paul tells us in Romans 6: 11 (KJV).

Therefore, we need to do as the Lord said and “Have salt within yourselves…” How do we do that? Believe what Paul said about your identification with Christ and present or yield yourselves to God as His servant and trust in the indwelling Holy Spirit to give you the desire and power to do the will of God as you exercise self-control to say “NO” to the enticements of Satan and the age. When you exercise your will to say “No”, He, the Holy Spirit will give you the power to follow through.  Your sinful nature will not have dominion over you! This will increase the fruit and power of the indwelling Spirit in our lives AND MAKE US MORE USEFUL TO GOD.  This is the only way to stop the corruption of this age from defiling us. Only God’s way works.

Hear Lord Jesus through Paul’s words in Romans 6:12-14:

“Thus, also, as for you, you be constantly counting upon the fact that, on the one hand, you are those who have been separated from the sinful nature, and, on the other, that you are living ones with respect to God in Christ Jesus. Stop therefore allowing the sinful nature to reign as king in your mortal body with a view to obeying it [the body] in its passionate cravings. Moreover, stop putting your members at the disposal of the sinful nature as weapons of unrighteousness, but by a once-for-all act and at once, put yourselves at the disposal of God as those who are actively alive out from among the dead, and put your members as weapons of righteousness at the disposal of God, for [then] the sinful nature will not exercise lordship over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

(Wuest Expanded Translation)

This completes the third installment of this series. The next blog will address what Apostle John had to say about loving the world. I hope you will join us.  May God richly bless your understanding of these things and may His indwelling Spirit empower you with self-control.

“Have salt within yourselves…”   Lord Jesus

Carl

 

God’s Rescue of Man (Part 2)

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“…the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might rescue us out of this present evil age….”

(Part One may be found at the end of this blog.)

Has the devil ever taken you “in tow”?  This is what the picture represents. Your love for God being “towed” away.  Read on to find out what in the world I am talking about.

Apostle Paul says Jesus came to be the substitutionary atonement for our sins. He took our guilt and the penalty the guilt required.  One reason He did this was to rescue us from this present pernicious age.  Because it is pernicious, this age has a corrupting influence upon the born again believer. Apostle Peter tells us in II Peter 1:4 that God has given to born again believers everything we need to live a godly life and become partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”

The corruption (phthora)  that we need to  escape is defined in the English dictionary as “to degrade with unsound principles or moral values” and “to change from good to bad in morals, manners, or actions”.  The Greek word means “a bringing or being brought into an inferior or worse condition, a destruction or corruption” (Vines).  Some authors refer to the effect of corruption as “inward decay and rottenness”. 

In other words, if we are not being led by the indwelling Holy Spirit, the corrupting influence of this age will cause our love for God (expressed in obedience to Him) to become infected with evil passionate cravings resulting in disobedience (sin). Our good morals or Christ likeness begins to rot or decay.  Another way to say it, is that our love for God is corrupted by a worldly love that considers something in the world more precious than God.

The effect of the  pernicious, corrupting influence of the age is to “carry away” or, as the original language says, “taken in tow”,  the believer from his steadfast love for God by “enticing him with his own lust” .  This is what James is saying in chapter 1:14:

“But each one is being solicited to sin when he is taken in tow and enticed by his own craving.” 
(Wuest)

Satan uses the things of this evil, pernicious age to “carry us away” or “take us in tow”.  The first thing he does is to get us distracted from God and focused on something  in his kingdom (the world) and he hooks us up to his Enticement Wagon, so to speak, so he can “tow” us further down the Road of Distraction where he entices you with things that you crave, i.e. attention, money, fame, power, liquor, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, drugs, rebellion, your way, freedom, etc.  And:

“Then when the aforementioned craving has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and this sin when it is full grown brings forth death.” (James 1:15)

It is “conceived” when we give our “will” over to do the enticement. When we say “Yes” to it. Satan knows what our passionate cravings were before we were saved and he will use the same passionate carvings to “entice” us to sin.  Plus new ones. I was never a drug user; therefore, he does not tempt me with illegal drugs but he tempts me with other  things that were in my life prior to salvation. Let us therefore, if possible, steer clear of areas of the world where we know our past and present temptations exist. Be wise as a serpent but as harmless as a dove.

In Mark 9:50 the Lord Jesus warns the twelve disciples “Have salt in yourselves…”  This is an important commandment and we will discuss salt and how it relates to this present evil age in the next blog. Hope you will join me.

Thank you for your time and God bless you and your family.

Don’t be taken in “tow” by Satan.  “…be keeping one’s self unspotted from the world” it says in James 1:27.  Stay free from the corruption of this age and stay steadfast in your love for God. Let us keep our minds full of the Word of God and our eyes fixed on His purposes in the earth.  Let us be led daily by the indwelling, powerful Holy Spirit who He has so graciously made to dwell in us!

Let us pay close attention to ourselves for the purpose of holiness.

Carl

 

 

 

 

God’s Rescue of Man (Part One)

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If you have been reading this blog, you probably know that “lust” in the Greek New Testament means either good or evil “passionate cravings”. Today we are starting a four  part blog on God rescuing us from this present evil age. I thought this picture was appropriate since the Pernicious One (Satan) and our flesh (old sinful nature) want us to follow our evil passionate cravings resulting in enslavement and destruction, ruining our Christian testimony and robbing us of God’s blessings.  May this study be a blessing and warning to you as it was to me.    Carl

“… Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age…”  Galatians 1:4

The Lord Jesus willingly gave Himself on the Cross for our sins. This scripture states that the purpose  was to “rescue” us “from this present evil age”.  The word translated “rescue” means “to pluck out, to draw out, to rescue, to deliver”.  In 1522 Martin Luther referred to this in the preface of the first German language New Testament:

This gospel of God or New Testament is a great message, good news, sounded forth into all the world by the apostles, telling of a true David who strove with sin, death, and the devil, and overcame them, and thereby RESCUED all those who were captive in sin, afflicted with death, and overpowered by the devil. Without any merit of their own he made them righteous, gave them life, and saved them, so that they were given peace and brought back to God.” (Emphasis mine)

As we will see, the gospel is truly emancipation from bondage.  Our opening scripture says He came to rescue us from the ethical characteristics of the present age.

“Age” (aion) is defined as a “period of time” and is sometimes translated “world” in the NT.  Here it is defined by its moral characteristics. Trench says the following about it:

“All that floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, aspirations, at any time current in the world, which it may be impossible to seize and accurately define, but which constitute a most real and effective power, being the moral or immoral atmosphere which at every moment of our lives we inhale, again inevitably to exhale.”

Notice that it is called an “evil” age. The Greek word for this evil is poneros as opposed to kakos.  A kakos man is satisfied to perish in his own corruption but a poneros man “is not content unless he is corrupting others as well, and drawing them into the same destruction with himself.” (Wuest).  The English word best describing poneros is the word pernicious,   “causing great harm or damage often in a way that is not easily seen or noticed”.  A perfect description of Satan’ activity.  He is known as The Pernicious One. Let us praise God The Father for sending the Lord Jesus to destroy the works of Satan in our lives, setting us free from the dominion of darkness positionally and experientially (I John 3:8 & Col.1:13).

This ends Part I of God’s Rescue of Man.  Part 2 will discuss the pernicious influence of the age and the Lord Jesus’ command to “Have salt within yourselves…” .

Thank you for your time and God bless you and your family.

Carl