Business As Usual

Hey there!

Paul said  he was a “slave” (Concordant Literal NT) of Christ Jesus in Romans 1:1 and all those who are called to be Christians are likewise referred to as “slaves” throughout the New Testament. This is the actual meaning of the Greek word ‘doulos’ according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

In all of history, I am quite sure there have NEVER been any ‘part-time slaves’. A slave is at the beck and call of her or his owner 24/7.

We, then, are to ALWAYS be constantly, consistently and ever presenting ourselves to God and Christ Jesus as our Owners. We may not have any particular task or duty to perform at any given moment, but nonetheless, we present ourselves to Them….24/7.

Even here, we are to be seeking FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33) and to be “hungering and thirsting for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6)….24/7.

Before we were called to be saints, all kinds of activities and concerns were on our ‘to-do list’. We were swamped in dealing with the issues of life and they demanded our undivided attention. Some that got our attention were justified but many were not. We were quite literally ‘slaves’ not only to dealing with these activities and concerns but also to the “law of sin” within our very nature (Romans 7:23-24)….they owned us.

However, there are now new Owners in town!! Our new Owners demand the same UNDIVIDED attention but what a glorious and wonderful change They bring. They can and will enable us to “have life more abundantly” (John 10:10).

There are still those justified activities and concerns we must perform and attend to daily but they are dealt with in a different way. And, they don’t own or control us as before because ALL that we do we deal with  through God and Jesus. Even the “law of sin” within “the body of death” we  now occupy will submit to and be ruled by our new Owners (Romans 7:25, 8:1-3).

Now, this life changing assistance and help throughout each day that we are able to receive from our new Owners does not come by merely having Them in our thoughts during the day. Nor does regimented Bible study, regular church attendance, ‘mechanical prayer’ or any other religious activities, however well meant.

Our Father and our Savior want us to “come to” Them (Matthew 11:28) and “draw near” to Them (James 4:8) and the religious activities mentioned in the previous paragraph do NOT cut the mustard!

At this point,, I always wind up bringing forth the example of Brother Lawrence. He showed us how to “come to” and “draw near” to God and Jesus by actually talking to, beseeching and living for Them moment by moment during the entire day. He did this even during his  most hurried of times. He wrote how it was difficult to do this at first, but after a while, it became second nature to him and he could not imagine living his life any other way.

You can read his entire book free online as set forth in the Category “Practicing The Presence Of God” and you will be amazed and inspired by the SUPERNATURAL relationship he was able to develop with his Owners.

Personally, my moment by moment prayer to Them is “help me Lord” (in whatever I am doing, thinking or saying at the moment) or just “Lord God”….and frequently punctuated with “thank you Father” or “thank you Jesus”. And, at other times, I just freely express myself to Them. The change and results I have experienced are indescribable.

So, let us, with all our being, endeavor not to be like those in Matthew 13:22 and to never go back to ‘business as usual’, as it was before God and Christ Jesus so graciously called us to undeservingly be saints.

All the best, in Him.

Fred

 

 

 

 

Destined To Be Holy

Greetings!

I have another excellent excerpt for you from Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost For His Highest” and it is found at http://utmost.org/destined-to-be-holy/ . Actually, this is in perfect line with the Category “The Purpose Of Life”. Editing and emphasis will be mine throughout….we begin:

“…it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”  1 Peter 1:16Peter 1:16

We must continually remind ourselves of THE PURPOSE OF LIFE. We are…. destined…. to HOLINESS.

Today we have far too many desires and interests, and our lives are being consumed and wasted by them. Many of them may be right, noble, and good, and may later be fulfilled, but in the meantime God must cause their importance to decrease.  THE ONLY THING THAT TRULY MATTERS is whether a person will accept the God  Who will make him HOLY.  AT ALL COST,  a person must have the right relationship with God.

God has only one intended destiny for mankind— HOLINESS. His only goal is to produce saints. God is not some eternal blessing-machine for people to use, and He did not come to save us out of pity— He came to save us because He created us to be HOLY. Atonement through the Cross of Christ means that God can put me back into PERFECT ONENESS with Himself through the death of Jesus Christ, without a trace of anything coming between us any longer.

Holiness means absolute purity of your walk before God, the words coming from your mouth, and EVERY thought in your mind— placing EVERY detail of your life under the scrutiny of God Himself. Holiness is NOT simply what God gives me, but what God has given me that is being exhibited in my life.

All the best, in Him.Fred

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

Lazarus and the Rich Man

Hey, there! There are so many takes on Luke 16:19-31 about Lazarus and the rich man. Many, if not most, believe that it is just another parable while a good number have no doubt it is a real story. After all, a real place is mentioned (“hades” or “hell”, as the KJV has it) and even Abraham and Moses are in the picture.

If it is real, it certainly shows that there is not only consciousness after death but that sinners and unbelievers can even be in “torment” until the Great White Throne Judgement and after.

Let’s look at these verses step by step and see how they hold up to what the other scriptures say, and not just depend on our human reasoning and logic, tainted as they may be by false, religious traditions we have encountered in the past.

It is extremely important that we realize we are dealing with the “soul” of the rich man and the “soul” of Lazarus….so, what the scriptures say about the “soul” apply here. The entire person composed of the (human) spirit, the (human) body and the (human) soul is NOT under consideration….only the “soul”.

At death, ONLY the “soul” actually makes its way to “hades” (or “hell” as the KJV has it). “Hades” [ or “hell” as the KJV has it] is best defined as the  “unseen” and that is the destiny of the soul when a person dies (Psa.9:17; Acts 2:27,31).  On the other hand, the “spirit” returns to God (Ecclesiastes 12:7) and the “body” returns to the soil (Genesis 3:19 and others). All 3 (body, soul,spirit) go their separate ways when a person dies.

In this narrative about Lazarus, we are exclusively dealing with “hades” (or “hell”, as the KJV has it) and the “souls” pertaining to the rich man, Lazarus and Abraham. And, please also keep in mind the REAL “hell” (or, as it is properly translated,”hades” in Greek and “sheol” in Hebrew) is NOT the fire and brimstone fantasy concocted by false traditions and misguided religious organizations but is best described and defined by the Concordant New Testament Greek-English Keyword Concordance  as “unseen”….or, “not perceptible by any senses, imperceptible”. Please reference the Post on “Hell” for further clarification.

This brings us to our first clue: the rich man asks for some water to cool his tongue in verse 24.  Oops….no tongues are allowed in “hades” (or “hell” in KJV)!!! If this was a real story, after the rich man was entombed,  the tongue would have remained with the body and eventually decayed physically (“returned to the soil”). Only the “soul” can make its way into “hell” or “hades”. This definitely is starting to look like a parable!

Next, Jesus NEVER taught the “crowds” spiritual truths and realities except by parables:

“Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables, and He would not speak anything to them without a parable”. (Matthew 13:34)

This story of Lazarus is being told to a “CROWD” of Pharisees (Luke 16:14)! Utt oh, this pretty much clinches it….we are obviously dealing with a parable.

But, let’s continue.

This doesn’t mean that Jesus did not teach His “disciples” in parables, because He did (Luke 16:1). But, He also taught them  spiritual truths and realities WITHOUT parables such as the “sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5:1 and Luke 6:20: “and His disciples came to Him”. He never taught the “crowds” (non-disciples) in “plain language”, ONLY in parables (Matthew 13:34).

Another major reason this is obviously a parable is attested to in 3 other scriptures in the Bible, or 3 other “witnesses”, if you will.

The following 3 verses clearly show that there is no consciousness for a person when she or he dies (or “sleeps”) ….much less memory, various actions, plans, etc.. You can reference the Posts on “Death” and “Hell” if you like.

Psalm 6:5: “For in death there is no remembrance of You; In the grave who will give You thanks?” (New King James)

Psalm 146:4: “His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish.” (New King James)

Ecclesiastes 9:5: “For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing” (New King James)

Coupled with this is the fact that the “soul” does not and cannot experience “life”, sensation, etc. unless and until there is the joining of the (human) spirit and (human) body first: “Yahweh Elohim formed the human out of soil from the ground, and He blew in to his nostrils the breath of life; and the human BECAME A LIVING SOUL.”. (Genesis 2:7….emphasis mine….Concordant Literal Old Testament, Rotherham’s and The Companion Bible are all similar in properly translating it “soul”).

And, the soul is actually in the blood: “for the soul of all flesh, it is in the blood” (Lev.17:11, Concordant Old Testament and Companion Bible). Where there is no human blood….there is no human soul (or, life, consciousness, etc.).

As a side note: This is why animals and humans can be said to have a “soul”….because they have blood flowing within them. Even though plants, vegetation and the like are “living organisms”, they are never said to have a “soul” because they have no blood….meaning, they have no consciousness nor any type of feelings. If you chop a tree down, rest assured it feels no pain!

Now, when the combination of these 3 elements (spirit, body, soul) is dissolved at death (as in Psalm 146:4 above) the soul returns  to where it was before it became a “living soul” when the human body and human spirit merged….i.e., back to  total unconsciousness (Psalm 6:5 and Ecclesiastes 9:5).

There are quite a number of additional factors which also show the story of Lazarus is dealing with fiction (a parable) to reveal a (Holy) spiritual truth but I will just mention one other. Notice in Luke 16:1, Jesus starts that PARABLE with “and there was a rich man”; and, notice in this PARABLE about Lazarus He also begins in verse 19: “and there was a rich man”.

Bottom line: This is a dramatic and FICTIONAL PARABLE to illustrate a (Holy) spiritual truth and reality that the Pharisees would have no clue of grasping. The parable was meant to illustrate that truly evil, sinful people, who have their hearts set on living in darkness and without God, WILL NOT CHANGE….even, if someone from their family literally came back and told them about their sad mistakes and illusions, and about what lies ahead for them in the way of punishment.

Later, in Christ,

Fred

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Hell in the Bible

Greetings!

First of all, when the Scriptures are correctly and consistently translated, they will clearly show there is NO CONSCIOUS SUFFERING of any sinner in ‘hell’. In fact, we will see that even saints are in ‘hell’ while waiting for the return of Christ Jesus. For a thorough study concerning this truth please reference the Post “Lazarus And The Rich Man”.

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word “sheol” has been translated in our Bibles ‘grave’ (31 times), ‘hell (31 times) and ‘the pit’ (3 times). It literally means “the unseen”, and as was pointed out  under the post of  “Death”, it is where the soul returns when a person dies and it has NO CONSCIOUSNESS, just as it was BEFORE the person was born.

The Greek equivalent of sheol in the New Testament is ‘hades’ and it is translated ‘hell’ (10 times) and ‘grave’ (1 time). Likewise, it means ‘the unseen’, where the soul goes at death….having NO CONSCIOUSNESS.

In the New Testament the word ‘ghenna’ is also translated ‘hell’ (12 times). It is actually not a true Greek word and refers to a place of loathing and abhorrence southwest of Jerusalem.  It is used in Matthew 5:28 and Matthew 10:28 and refers to a place where, in the millennium, the bodies of transgressors will be thrown AFTER they have been slain for sins worthy of death. The soul is NEVER said to  enter there NOR is it said  the soul suffers torment there.

Another Greek word translated as ‘hell’ in the New Testament is ‘tartarus’ (1 time). It is a place where the sinning, heavenly messengers are kept until the day of judgment.  2 Peter 2:4

The good news is that there will be a time , after the eon or age following the White Throne  Judgment, when even Death itself will be abolished (1 Corinthians 15:26) and it will NO LONGER hold ANY HUMAN in its state of being.  This is covered under the Post  “All Creation Will Be Saved”.

Take care.

Fred

Death

Greetings!

In the Scriptures we are told that at death “the spirit returns to God Who gave it” (Ecc.12:7), the “body returns to the soil” (Gen.3:19), and “the soul returns to the unseen [sheol or hades]” (Psa.9:17; Acts 2:27,31).

Quite simply, we become as we were BEFORE we were born, that is, HAVING NO CONSCIOUS EXISTENCE ( Psa 6:5, Psa. 146:4, Ecc. 9:5)  The Bible refers to it many times as being a “sleep” (Psa 13:3, 1 Corinthians 7:39,  15:6, 15:20, 15:51, etc. ). Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, was also said to be asleep by Jesus Himself when he died; and, then He said He was going to “awake” him. (John 11:11….Young’s Literal)

In Acts 7:59-60, Stephen is acknowledged to have had his spirit return to God (where it was before he was born) and then he “fell asleep” (Darby, Rotherham’s and Young’s translations) and also in 1 Corinthians 11:30 (Young’s). Again, reference John 3:13.

Further, 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 reveals that those Christians who having fallen “asleep” shall rise first.

You might want to also reference the Post on “Lazarus  and the Rich Man” for a much more detailed explanation.

Later, we will cover ‘hell’….it, too, is so misunderstood.

Take care.

Fred