Living is Christ….And Dying Gain

Hi, there!  To say Christians who have died are fortunate and blessed above all other humans  because of our expectation in Christ has to be the most universal understatement of all time!!

Paul was so looking forward to his passing on from this life because to him (and to every true believer/Christian) it is “gain” as we access to the presence of Christ Jesus and God the Father when we die. (Philippians 1:21….Rotherham’s).

Again, in 2 Corinthians 5:8 Paul writes: “we have courage, and are well pleased rather to be away from the home of the body, and to be at home with the Lord.”

However, these statements need the clarification that follows.

As brought out in the Post “Death”, the dying of all humans is equivalent to a peaceful sleep. No one, not even believers such as Paul, ascends directly into heaven after dying (John 3:13). But rather, the Post brings out how the Scriptures constantly refer to death as a “sleep”, and it will seem like mere moments (as it is with any good sleep we get as humans) before we awake to be in our consciousness again. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 confirms that those who have “fallen ASLEEP” “shall rise first”!! (Rotherham’s….emphasis mine)

With this renewed consciousness, for the believer, it will seem almost like a mere instant between our demise and our subsequent awakening again to be found in our new, glorious and transfigured Christ-life celestial (heavenly)  bodies….meeting our Savior in the air! (Philippians 3:21, 1 Thessalonians 4:17….Rotherham’s)

Truly, all Christians can joyously look forward to death as a “gain”, as did Paul.

Take care, in Christ,

Fred

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The “Secret” Revealed To Paul

Greetings!

In Ephesians 3:2-3, Paul writes that a “secret”  was personally revealed to him by a “revelation”, and it involved a dispensation or administration concerning “the grace of God” towards the Gentile nations. He also called it the “secret of Christ” in verse 4 and referred to it as the “secret of the evangel” in Ephesians 6:19. This is also confirmed in Romans 16:25-26.

He goes on to say that this “secret” was NOT, and was NEVER made known in past generations….until it was divinely revealed to him (Colossians 1:26-27). Quite simply, the “secret” proclaimed that called believers from the Gentile nations (you and me) were to become “JOINT PARTAKERS” and “FELLOW HEIRS”  with the Israelites, and ON EQUAL FOOTING! In times past, a Gentile could only hope for proselyte status with the Jewish nation, and a far more subordinate role and much less inheritance.

Now, however, there was to be a “joint body” (Body of Christ) whereby the Gentile “nations” enjoyed FULL inheritance status with the Israelites (Ephesians 2:19, 3:5-6).

He continues that this “administration of the secret”, having  been “hid from the ages in God” (verse 9) was also a display of the “many kinds of wisdom of God” to the “principalities and authorities in the heavenly places”….and, was in accord with God’s “purpose of the ages (eons)” (verse 11).

Additionally, those believers from the nations (Gentiles) called under Paul’s “secret administration” did NOT have to observe ANY ELEMENTS of Jewish Law except (1) keep from things sacrificed to idols (2)keep from blood and from things strangled (3)keep from fornication. This can be found in Acts 15:4-20, especially in verses 18-20.

The Jewish believers (Peter, John, James, et al), on the other hand, had been instructed by Jesus Himself to keep ALL the elements of the Law “until all is accomplished”. (Matthew 5:17-18).

Galatians 2:7-9 reveals it was established on Paul’s second visit to Jerusalem that it was agree by all that he had been entrusted with the evangel to the ‘Uncircumcision’ (we Gentile believers) whereas Peter was entrusted with the evangel to the ‘Circumcision’ (the Jewish believers). Paul confirms this in 1 Timothy 2:7, Romans 11:13, 2 Timothy 1:11 and Romans 15:16.

So, even though “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16), the writings of Paul are specifically addressed to us as Gentile believers.

Later, in Christ,

Fred

For When I Am Weak….I Am Strong

Hi, there! The verse noted above from 2 Corinthians 12:10 is one of the most wonderful and reassuring truths in all of Scripture! Let’s look at a few examples that illustrate this so well.

– Jesus, in His human form, was Himself crucified out of “weakness” (2 Corinthians 13:4)….yet, look how strong He was and what He accomplished by the power of God, and is also now living by this same power.

– Paul says in the same verse that we are also “weak” with Him, but God’s power is likewise for us. Thank goodness God calls the “weak” and “foolish”!! (1 Corinthians 1:27, 4:10)

– Paul is also an excellent example of how God and Christ choose the weakest and the “less than the least of all saints” to become powerful and fruitful by the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 3:8)

The transliterated Greek word “astheneo” in this verse literally means: powerless, weak, sick, feeble and  needy. It not only refers to physical weaknesses (such as Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”, his bodily presence being “weak” and his speech “contemptible”….2 Corinthians 10:10) but to mental handicaps as well as emotional ones (for example, Peter’s fear from peer pressure at Antioch when he had to be confronted by Paul….Galatians 2:11-14).

– Paul recounts in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 how after asking God to remove his “thorn in the flesh” three times, God responded with “Sufficient for you is My grace, for MY POWER IS PERFECTED IN WEAKNESS (emphasis mine).”

Paul then goes on to say how he will not only delight in his physical infirmity but ” I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Paul adds in 2 Corinthians 11:30: “If I must boast, I will be boasting in that which is of my weakness.”

– Paul was made powerful and fruitful by God and Christ while he had his”infirmity” (weakness) in the flesh in Galatia. Galatians 4:13

– Paul was made powerful and fruitful by God and Christ among the Corinthians even though “in weakness and fear and much trembling”. 1 Corinthians 2:3

– 1 Corinthians 15:43 clearly indicates that our bodies are sown in weakness, and this we will have to contend with until  “it is raised in power” (same verse).

– Romans 8:26 says that we are weak even in our ability to pray properly, but also reveals how God, once again, steps in and provides for us: “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness ; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Please also reference the POST: “Dry Prayer And Monkey Chatter”)

I really like Galatians 4:27 as it pretty much sums up how God and Christ delight in enabling us to be powerful and fruitful in our weaknesses, disadvantages, infirmities, being desolate, lacking  in personal abilities, etc., etc. and etc.:

`Rejoice, O barren, who are not bearing; break forth and cry, you who are not travailing, because many [are] the children of the desolate — more than of her having the husband.’

Please reference the Post “Feel The POWER” to balance out this discussion concerning our weaknesses.

See you later,

Fred