Oops, things don’t work if not in the right order.
The Bible teaches principles for life, as it teaches truth from literal situations. That truth/ principle can be applied to other situations. Take as an example GOD’s command in Deuteronomy 25:4 that the ox should not be muzzled when he is treading out the grain (in other words let him eat as he works). I Corinthians 9:9-14 says that verse about oxen being muzzled is for those who preach; they should be fed (receive material livelihood) by those they preach to.
In part 1, we saw that looking to a brass snake on a pole, healed the Jews from poisonous snake bites. Then in the New Testament, that situation with a snake on a pole was referred to as illustrating JESUS on the cross. If anyone will look to JESUS he will be cleansed from sin and given eternal life (John 3:14,15).
In part 2, we will see another principle that goes far beyond its initial contextual setting.
In part one, we saw GOD has known all things since before the worlds began (Acts 15:18). It was through this foreknowledge, that HE chose those whom would one day choose to believe in HIM (I Peter 1:2). HE would not force those who refuse to believe HIM. Therefore, GOD chose and predestined things for those who HE knew, in advance, would choose to believe in and trust HIM.
GOD knew people would sin before HE made them. HE knew sin would separate men from HIM. HE did not want that. HE wanted a loving relationship with men. So way back then, before HE made anything at all, HE devised a plan. HIS Son, the LORD JESUS CHRIST, would take on a human body, be born a baby, live a perfect life and then be slain on the cross to carry the sins of all mankind. JESUS would then arise from the grave, to give all who will believe in HIM new life. (Acts 2:23)
There was just one catch. Each person had to believe on JESUS, to receive the benefits of what JESUS did on the cross. Those benefits include: forgiveness of sin and eternal life with GOD.
Today we are going to narrow our view and focus in on only those who believe in JESUS. We will be considering how GOD fulfills HIS word to conform every believer into the image of JESUS, so that JESUS would be the firstborn of many brothers (Romans 8:29).
But when this priest (JESUS) had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, HE sat down at the right hand of GOD..(HIS work was finished).. For by one sacrifice HE has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (Hebrews 10:12,14). ON the cross JESUS said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30).
The Greek word translated for all time in verse 12, is the same exact Greek word translated forever in verse 14. That word means: continuous, uninterrupted.
When we believe in JESUS, we are given the righteousness of GOD (Romans 3:21,22). That is what is meant by making us perfect forever. But, we don’t act the part yet.
The Greek word translated being made holy is a present, passive, participle. That just means; they are in a state of continually being made holy by another. It is happening to them. They are not doing it themselves. That is one of the jobs of the Holy SPIRIT. HE enables us to see what JESUS is like. Then HE changes us into that likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18).
It is like a tiny baby born into a family. He will always be part of that family; it is a forever thing. The baby doesn’t know how to talk or walk and must learn those things. All it knows how to do is drink and make messes.
He grows by drinking his milk(1 Peter 2:2). A baby learns by observing and then trying to imitate.
Being changed is a process activated by the Holy SPIRIT. When we believed, we were born into the family of GOD. We must learn how to walk and talk like our big brother JESUS and our FATHER GOD.
As we read the Bible (drink the pure milk of the word) or the Holy SPIRIT helps us see GOD answer prayer, and work in people’s lives, we see JESUS as HE is. Then GOD places within us the desire to be like HIM (Philippians 2:13). With the enabling power of the Holy SPIRIT, we practice what GOD does, and do what HE tells us to do. In that way we grow in HIS likeness. We are being made holy (conformed into the image of JESUS) (Romans 8:29).
1) One sacrifice for all sins (JESUS Christ the Son of GOD and the son of man on the cross)
2) JESUS sat down (HIS saving work completed)
3) JESUS made perfect forever everyone who would believe on HIM
4) they are those who are being gradually made holy (changed into the likeness of JESUS CHRIST).
I remember one time when I was so furious with my husband that I thought I would leave him. I told GOD, “YOU said if I left Mac I would become a castaway and not be able to serve YOU. Well, I stayed. For that cost was too high. My life is to serve YOU. But now, he is stopping me from serving YOU. So I might as well leave.” Instantly, GOD began running situation, after situation, after situation, as a video, before my eyes where HE had forgiven me. It didn’t take long before my anger seeped away. I wasn’t angry any more. What I had to forgive, was nothing compared to what GOD had forgiven me. I learned to forgive, by seeing HIM forgive.
Although in process now, our transformation will not be complete, until we see JESUS face to face (I John 3:2).
JESUS paid the price for all sin (Colossians 2:13-15). And anyone who comes to JESUS and believes on HIM enters into the cleansing power, is forgiven, and given eternal life. The one who does not believe is condemned already, for he rejects what JESUS offers. (John 3:18).
GOD’s righteousness is a free gift. But it is conditional. That is, it is given freely, but only to those who believe in JESUS (Romans 3:21,22). We are justified by faith alone and have peace with GOD because we believe in JESUS Christ the SON of the living GOD (Romans 5:1).
Not one is declared righteous by what they do (Romans 3:19,20).
One day I was struggling with thoughts I should not have. I threw myself down on my knees and cried out to GOD, “I don’t know why YOU ever listen to me!” As clear as I have ever heard anyone speak, I hear GOD say, “Sharon, I never have listen to you because you were good. I listen to YOU, because of MY SON who stood in your place.”
On earth and during time GOD works in believers to transform them into the image of JESUS and to use them to do HIS work. GOD has given all believers the Holy SPIRIT to interpret HIS WORD and teach and lead believers. Since the LORD honors the choices of people, HE must work differently with the 2 basic kinds of believers.
Although I am listing it as 2 kinds of believers, no individual is 100% always walking in the SPIRIT (a). We each go back and forth between the 2. Some, much more one way than the other. Therefore, when Believer (a) grieves the Holy SPIRIT through sin; quenches HIM through ignoring instructions for action; or acts despite HIS warnings, he becomes a Believer (b). He will be treated that way, unless and until he repents.
- Believers who follow GOD’s instructions.
These read the Bible and when the Holy SPIRIT shows them they are wrong they examine themselves, confess (I John 1:9) and ask for grace to help them do right. (Hebrews 4:16) If the Holy SPIRIT nudges them to act (like speak about JESUS; smile at a stranger; write a letter; or do a simple chore) if they comply, they are working with GOD. They earn eternal rewards (although they may not be appreciated here and now).
- Believers who do their own thing, instead of following GOD’s instructions, hurt themselves.
If we judge ourselves (that is accept the conviction and prodding of the Holy SPIRIT and confess) we would not come under judgment (during our time on earth). But when we are judged (during our time on earth-because we do not accept the conviction or prodding of the Holy SPIRIT), we are chastened by the LORD, so HE won’t have to condemn us with the world (those who do not believe in JESUS) (I Corinthians 11:31,32).
In other words there is during time, while we are still on earth chastening/discipline (consequences) from the LORD for believers who do not follow GOD’s instructions and thereby sin.
My son do not make light of the LORD’s discipline, and do not lose heart when HE rebukes you, because the LORD disciplines the one HE loves and HE chastens everyone HE accepts as HIS son… No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:5,6,11).
Some however, don’t pay attention so are not trained by chastizement the 1st time around.
Students can sit in a classroom and not learn a thing. If it is a required subject, they will have to repeat the class until they learn. It is the same with us. If we do not accept what GOD shows us, we will have to go through one struggle after another, after another until we do. But when we finally get the message and confess our sins, the LORD is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9)
That happened to me. One day I was reading GOD’s word and I read, “Don’t be like the horse or the mule.” It caught my attention, I knew it was speaking about stubbornness. But instead of examining myself, I said, “I am not stubborn, Mac is. So GOD must want me to pray for him about his stubbornness.” By refusing to even consider, that those words spoke to me because I was stubborn, I didn’t learn a thing. It took a while before GOD got me to see my own stubbornness and confess.
It is exciting to see the awesome patience GOD has with us, and the great lengths HE goes to while teaching those who believe HIM.
But peace, productivity, fulfillment and rewards only come to the Christians who follow GOD’s instructions.
John 15:3-4 (NLT) You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in ME, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in ME.
The foundation is laid when we believe in JESUS. From that time on we build on it. One day every believer will go through the Judgment seat of Christ. Scripture says only our works will be judged that day. Believer’s sins will NOT be judged on that day, for CHRIST died for them on the cross and they have been judged and paid for already.
As we go though a roaring fire everything not built on JESUS will be burned up. Only that which JESUS did through us will last. (JESUS said, without ME you can do nothing.) Rewards will be given according to what comes through the fire. Some believers will have their entire life’s actions burned up that day and lose out on rewards. But they themselves, will be saved as out of a roaring fire. (I Corinthians 3:10-15)
That term, as out of a roaring fire, makes me think of Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego. They were thrown into the fiery furnace because they refused to bow to an idol. GOD protected them and they came out unharmed and didn’t even smell like smoke (Daniel 3:27). To me coming out of a roaring fire… is like sitting by an open campfire… you come away smelling like smoke. Praise the LORD for HIS unceasing mercy, HE will then wipe away every tear that lingers on a believer (Revelation 21:4).
Bunny trail: Personally, I think the Judgment Seat of CHRIST occurs as we rise to meet HIM in the air (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).
For:1- All believers will be together there at that time.
2-They will all pass from the earth through the atmosphere in an instant.. a twinkling of the eye(I Corinthians 15:52). From watching NASA space craft blast off and re-entry, we know that things burn up as they travel at high speeds through the atmosphere. That speaks of fire.
3-JESUS says HE will bring our rewards with HIM. (Revelation 22:12)
Although all our sins were paid for on the cross, sins of every kind: idle words, unforgiveness, even wrong thoughts do have consequences. Each one are dealt with by GOD during this time and on this earth, so that HE does not have to condemn a believer with the world. I Corinthians 11:31,32
Looking unto Jesus the Author and Perfecter of my faith