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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Let all the angels worship Him!

Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

“But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him.’" Hebrews 1:6

I offer praise and thanksgiving for the glorification of Your Son and my Savior at His second coming. Even though You forbid the worship of anything or anyone, You have even angels to worship Him. Thank You for showing us in this passage the unity of Your Trinity. As Jesus said You dwell in Him and He in You so that men must honor Him as men must honor You and as Emmanuel, God dwelling in human flesh for the redemption of men and removal of the curse (Romans 8:15, 23).

I ponder the thought of that joyous first morning of Your Son’s birth from heaven’s viewpoint. With undimmed vision and an unimpaired hearing to marvel at the flesh of the Christ child and the glory of the eternal Word of God. Then, to hear Your voice commanding the angels to worship Him in whom I, and all believers, have eternal and infinite blessing.

Related reading: Praise and Thanksgiving for the Son

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Praise and Thanksgiving for the Son

Gerard Van Honthorst 1622
Adoration of the Shepherds

Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

Hebrews 1:5: “For to which of the angels did He ever say: "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You"? And again: "I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son"?

I offer praise and thanksgiving for your declaration of Jesus as Your Son. As Your only conceived Son, He is unique. No one else has been conceived in a woman's womb by Your Spirit and not by natural means, so that by origin He is Your Son in human flesh. Oh, the wonder of Your multiple purposes for Emmanuel! Father let my mind so focus upon Him that in Him in this day I will be in full harmony with You to Your only begotten Son. For He is greater than the angels by His conception and birth and Your declaration.

Hebrews 1:5b: “And again: ‘I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son’”?

I offer praise and thanksgiving for your promised relationship to Jesus as His Father that sets Him above the angels and makes them serve Him. I thank and praise You that as He lives in me, and in every believer, that we partake of His blessing. For in Him, in some mysterious way, we not only participate in His life, but are Your children, even to the extent of judging angels.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

On Keeping the Sabbath

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

Recently, The Ten Commandments has become a matter of public interest as immorality and atheism has asserted themselves. This has come into view as liberal and America’s culture has suffered from Post Modernistic influence. The latter has the basic view that there is no absolute truth! This is a contradiction in its own assertion. For insisting on this pronouncement as absolute, they are in concept affirming what they assert is not true! They say ABSOLUTELY: there is no absolute truth!

As apostate atheistic influences gained ground with the result of corrupting and destroying the lives of large sections of our society, conservative people began promoting the Ten Commandments even in public places. This is not inconsistent with periods of revival in both Israeli and Church history.

The Ten Commandments were given to Israel to form a shorter synopsis of the abiding character for their culture. They were not a full expression of Israel’s legal and moral system. In the revelation given trough Moses a great number of regulations for acceptable conduct were given.

There were regulations about family roles, what was not permissible in struggles between people, there were procedures in discerning truth, carrying out justice and much more. However, the Ten Commandments were not specifications for spiritual forgiveness and salvation. They were only basic standards for Israel’s cultural life. They are basic principles, because they did not spell out many details of their application. Moses, the Lord Jesus, the Apostle Paul, and James indicated that there were detailed instructions of how Israel was to administer the basic principles of the Ten Commandments. This was called: "the whole Law1."

The first and second Commandments only required that the LORD be their only God, there were many other commandments as to how the Lord was to be honored. Without honoring God as specified in the other instructions of "the whole Law", i.e., to hold to Him was to insult Him. Most of the book of Malachi is occupied with Israel’s dishonoring the LORD in their holding to Him as their God.

Without the sacraments for worship and forgiveness for reconciliation with God and man, the Ten Commandments will only condemn those who would break even one of them (James 2:10). Keeping them could not save any one, because all people are by nature sinners. This is why the angels gave the glorious announcement of Christ’s birth to the shepherds in stead of to the Pharisees whose life was occupied with the study and self righteous keeping of the Law according to their added interpretations. The Shepherds could not do so because their life focused upon their sheep. They could only trust God according to His mercy and love. They looked to God more for His forgiveness like the tax collector praying in the Temple!

God has given basic laws for spiritual and moral conduct as a basic form of righteousness in the manifestation of His existence in the conscience of every person!

". . Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness . ." (Rom 2:14, 15).

Sin, before the Law, was like a virus in that it produced death, but in the administration of justice and sins were not labeled. Not being labeled, sin was a matter of debate: ". . their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,. ." (Rom 2:15).

In the midst of self centered people, most lived in confusion so that government and culture were ineffective. When written law came into being, corrosive bad conduct was labeled and could be dealt with. ". . until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law." (Rom 5:13). Imputed means labeled, accounted for what it is.

This work of the Law, which is more than contained in the Ten Commandments, functioned to show spiritual needs beyond law for justification and sanctification.

For justification:

"Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor." (Gal 3:24, 25).

For ". . by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin." (Rom 3:20).

As justified believers are: "He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 Because you are sons , God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘ Abba! Father!’" (Gal 4:5, 6).

Permanent justification relationship - Once justified always justified!

As God’s children, the Law cannot revoke justification.

Example: Solomon:

"I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. 15 But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul," (2 Sam 7:14, 15).

Faith in God as reliance upon Him, honors Him and produces obedience through a personal relationship of communion with Him according to His Person (John 17:3; 10:27-30; Romans 1:5; 16:25, 26)

For sanctification:

Foundational spiritual relationship:

"Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God." (Rom 7:4, 5).

The Law demands the death of the violator which was satisfied in the substitutionary death of Christ. Therefore, the Law cannot condemn the believer as he has received the payment for all sin, past, present, and future! For Jesus died but once for all sin!

Function of the Law - reveal our helplessness:

"What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, "YOU SHALL NOT COVET." (Rom 7:7).

". . so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful." (Rom 7:13).

"For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not." (Rom 7:18).

The net result: Embracing Christ for overcoming sanctification:

"Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin." (Rom 7:24, 25).

"For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." (Rom 8:3, 4).

By faith focus on the worthiness of Christ:

"But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory (worthwhileness) of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit." (2 Cor 3:18 and compare Rom 8:1-9).

By this process of faith, the Law leads the conscientious believer to dispar of self and self ability to rely upon the Lord Jesus for both justification and sanctification!

With such benefit the conscientious believer will be led to grateful love towards God, so that one will concentrate upon relying upon Him and not upon how well one keeps the Ten Commandments!

"Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." (Rom 13:10 KJV). For which one of God’s commandment would be broken if love towards others ruled our minds?

Focusing upon Christ gives us the same attitude of love for others (John 3:16) as well as loving dependence on God through Christ.

Review and considerations of the book: "Ten Commandments - Twice Removed" By: Danny Shelton and Shelley Quinn

The contentions with other believers is not really with keeping the Ten Commandments, they center their message on the viability of Sabbath keeping. They write that the Sabbath is "the heart of the Law. (P. 87, par 3)." This subordinates the First Commandment of "no other gods." By doing so they make Sabbath keeping more important than the Lord!

Their contention with basic Bible believers, those who follow Jesus (John 10:27-30), is that they must keep Sabbath to genuinely be saved from the wrath of God. They neglect to understand the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament especially for Gentile believers.

The power of their writing is constant assertion that Sabbath keeping is essential to keeping the moral demands of the righteous requirements of the Ten Commandments! As one person said to the effect, something said - asserted - often enough will be believed as truth!

Their teaching in this book is contradictory and incomplete!

In many places they speak of salvation by grace through faith (p. 45 par 5) (Eph 2:8, 9). "The significance of the great Ten Commandments was that they were the heart of the special covenant God made with Israel." (P.45, par 4). It ". . was perfect – and He added nothing more." (p. 46 par 1). Even in the statements of the Ten Commandments there is change:

Exodus 20:1-5 only commands "no other gods before Me!" In the Deuteronomy 11 version loving God is further commanded not just having "no other gods".

While in Numbers 15:40 God commands: ". . be holy to your God." Holding only to the Lord as God does not require in itself being "holy or loving Him!"

Then there were tithes and offerings commanded (Mal 3:8-10). Then there was the command not only to have no other gods, but to love Him and to instruct successive generations (Deut 6:5).

The authors lack of recognizing that the Church is not Israel is seen in calling the Sabbath "perpetual." The times that Paul went into the Synagogues was to reoffer the Kingdom to Israel, because Christ interceded with the Father not to hold their rejection against them by their crucifying Him. His earthly ministry was offering the Kingdom to Israel which would logically end when they rejected Him as their King.

Peter said that if they would repent and accept Christ, the Kingdom would be immediately given in an immediate return (Acts 3:18-26). This reoffer of the Kingdom was answered as seen through Acts as the Kingdom was preached through out the world associated with Israel until in Rome their rejection was climatic: "Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God (not Kingdom with its Laws) has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen." (Acts 28:28). While Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles, he went to the Jew first, when they refused to believe as a group, he would go to the Gentiles.

That he nor the Apostles and the Church at Jerusalem made the Gentiles assume the distinguishing life style and identifying commandments for Israel is seen in the counsel at Jerusalem. This was concerning Judaisers requiring Gentile believers to live as Jews (Acts 15:1-35). Concerning the Sabbath, it was not included in the things the believing Gentiles were to be concerned with. Further, the Gentile Church no where observed the Sabbath as a part of their spiritual practice.

In stead of Sabbath rest, the rest for them was the rest of faith in Jesus and His Gospel work without meritorious works2 .

Keeping Sabbath is meritorious, it must be done to really be right with God in Israel. The works that are exhorted, as in James, were to exhibit active faith, not to exhibit Jewish law to keep Sabbath.

One of the most important methods of interpretation of any communication, especially in Scripture, is to discern to whom or for whom something is said, especially commandments!

Jews were required to be circumcised, but it was a disavowal of a faith relationship with Christ in the New Testament (Gal 5:2). They would be "debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." (Gal 5:3, 4 KJV).

The book’s authors have largely ignored this rule of interpretation of who is spoken to. They cite Exodus 31:13, 14 which says that Sabbath keeping would be an ongoing distinguishing characteristic of Israel as His special people. Sabbath keeping is nowhere used concerning the Gentile Church!

Another distinguishing characteristic of Israel was the special days that marked the various ways that they are related to God. The New Testament revelation dismisses all day keeping as obligations to the Church life:

"But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11 I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain." (Gal 4:9-11).

So day observance is optional, not any one was required by God!

"Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, . ." (Rom 14:4-6).

In Colossians 2:16, Paul instructs them to:

"Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days:" This literally includes the seventh day Sabbath!

In contrast, when the Ten Commandments were given, violation of the Sabbath was not only a matter of judgement, but the judgement of death by stoning even for picking up some sticks (Numb 15:32-36). The Jews even tried to kill the Lord Jesus several times because He down graded strict observance of the Sabbath.

The Lord said that the Sabbath was for the benefit of man and not that man was created for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27).

It is interesting to speculate that Sabbath observance was not a part of the blessings of Church members. For the contention about the absoluteness of Sabbath observing was used to persecute the Lord.

In the ways of God, when Israel back slid God would chasten them by the removal of blessings. Perhaps, the Lord removed the obligation of Sabbath keeping for the Church as a punishment which was a new entity?

In Christ’s sermon on the Mount, He raised the moral and spiritual level of the Ten Commandments. With the exception of the tenth commandment, they required only outward performance. He explicitly raised the commandments to internal attitudes:

"You have heard that the ancients were told, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.' 22 "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; . ." (Matt 5:22).

This is repeated concerning several of the other Ten Commandments. However, as He said, He did not come to destroy the Law, He upgraded it from commanded outward obedience to a transformed inward attitude, the affairs of the heart. Contrary to the authors saying: "He added NO more.!" Rather, He added commandments:

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another." (John 13:34, 35).

In Matt 28:19, He commanded with all authority in Heaven and on Earth to: "make disciples of all the nations,. ." and to teach "them to observe all that I commanded you . ." (Matt 28:20).


p 50: They imply that there is no difference between the Old Covenant and the New as far as Sabbath keeping - they tend to hide this by pushing the 10 Commandments.

EFL - The Old Covenant was sanctified by the blood of a sacrificial animal – The New Covenant is founded on Jesus blood symbolized in Communion. 1 Cor 11:23-36

The Old demanded works to maintain a justified position Ezekiel 33:12.

The New demands a dependent faith perspective (Heb 11:6).

P. 24 They make performance necessary for salvation from 1 John 2:3, 4. This must be understood as an attitude, not a works salvation. Jesus said: "the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit (attitude) and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers." (John 4:23-24).

"In Spirit" means attitude of dependence (John 8:31-35; Phil 3:12-14), not in a legalistic sense of (authors assertion to include Sabbath keeping) James 2:10. Faith starts on a minimal level such as faith upon Jesus work on the Cross (1 Cor 15:1-3) - recognizing Who Christ was and had confessing faith that saves - Rom 10:8, 9; Matthew 10:32.

Also: "If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him." 1 John 2:29 - Following Him (John 10:27). The story of the Apostles following Jesus was a growing experience as they learned more, not a keeping of a code (Phil 3:12-14; 2 Cor 3:18).

"But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises . 7 A New Covenant For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. 8 For finding fault with them, He says, . ." (Heb 8:6-8). When He said, "’A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear." Heb 8:13

The strength of their argument is the contention that the 10 Commands, especially the Sabbath command, is based upon the creation’s 7th day where God rested, are based on the original creation, but when Christ rose from the dead He began a New Creation (1 Cor15:45-49; 2 Cor 5:17). Therefore, the Sabbath has no basis for the born again, for that one is a part of a new, eternal creation, not the old that is ruined by sin.

p. 24 -They define sin from 1 John 3:4 as lawlessness , from which they would promote Sabbath keeping implying that this is necessary to the salvation experience. They write that it is "the only clear definition of sin in the Bible. (Yet there is Romans 1 & 3:23). Sin is lawlessness, the breaking of God’s Law -" p..24 par 6. This is making real salvation into a system of works. Which they define, at one time including the habit of being a vegetarian. This comes close to a mark of apostasy! For 1 Timothy 4:1-3 lists forbidding certain foods as a mark of apostasy! The weakness of this is that they haven’t proved that Sabbath keeping applies to the Gentile Church! They simply contend that it is an eternal commandment.

The Sabbath is specifically said by God to be a sign between Him and Israel- no such thing is applied to the Church.

Indeed, Acts 20:6, 7 have the Church meeting on the first day of the week and in 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2.

They ignore that in Acts 20:6, 7, Paul was pressed for time in his schedule to get to Jerusalem. For after preaching all night, he went walking immediately to catch a ship. But he had stayed there seven days waiting to meet with the Church, if they worshiped on the Sabbath, he would have met with them then!

In 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2, they say that laying aside their gift for the poor saints in Jerusalem was a private thing. But why "the first day of the week"? Paul said this "putting aside" to be done as a practice on the first day of the week, not only for the Corinthian Church, but the Gelatin Churches," to lay aside" their giving on the "first day of the week" "the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. 2 On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper."

His stated purpose was that there "so that no collections be made when I come." If the laying aside had been privately, there would have been collections when he came!

Therefore, the Gentile Churches were meeting on the first day of the week, not on the Sabbath!

Paul was very sensitive that they knew that he personally was not like their philosophers that taught for money, so he did not want money collecting to be associated with his arrival (2 Cor 12:14-18)!

While it is commendable for them to want to obey God according to His Word, but it can be disasters when interpretation inaccurately makes the believer dependant upon "works of righteousness," Sabbath keeping, for genuine salvation rather than on "obedience of faith" (Rom 1:5; 16:25, 26). Sabbath speaks of rest, not legalism, a have to do or die.

"He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit"  (Titus 3:5).

1 Deut 4:8; Matt 22:40; Gal 5:3, 14, and James 2:10

2 Matt 11:28, 29; Rom 4:1-6; 1 Cor 2:5; Heb 3:11, 18; 4:1-11

Related reading:
How Faith Overcomes - Part I
How Faith Overcomes - Part II
How Faith Overcomes - Part III
How Faith Overcomes - Part IV
How Faith Overcomes - Part V
How Faith Overcomes - Part VI
Faith Overcomes Antichrists - Part VII
How Faith Overcomes - Part VIII
How Faith Overcomes - Part IX
How Faith Overcomes - Part X

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Greetings!

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin; Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Light to the Nations – A Messianic Prophecy

Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and His glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.” – Isaiah 60:1-3 (ESV)

This prophecy has a two-fold emphasis. The Messiah, who is the Light to all nations, will come. Then, because He has come, God will put His light and beauty upon the people, attracting the nations to the Light of Christ. Jesus said during His earthly ministry, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32, ESV). He spoke of the death whereby He would die as a sacrifice for our sins; the cross is a sign beckoning all people to come to redemption and faith in Him.

Isaiah foresees the glory of all of God’s people being united under the Light. The bright future of God’s people calls for faith and action. We cannot stand dormant in the Light. “The Lord will arise upon you, and His glory will be seen in you” (v. 2) indicates that God will make a clear distinction between His own people and those who still remain in darkness, those who have not acknowledged Him.

But those with the Light have an obligation to bear His light.

The fulfillment of this prophecy from Isaiah was spoken by Simeon when Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem when he was forty days old. There old Simeon blessed Jesus and said, “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation that You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32, ESV). Imagine the joy old Simeon had in seeing and holding the Son of God! He had been promised the privilege of doing so before his death, and the occasion of Jewish purification of Mary and child was the event that linked the prophecy to the fulfillment Simeon was experiencing. This is another example of how God fulfills what He promises.

Jesus’ declaration can be true for all His followers: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12, ESV). He furthermore told us to be lights for Him: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16, ESV). To be light is to wield positive influence. We speak of coming to the light of the truth. A single candle can banish the darkness in a room. Likewise, a Christian life, lived under the direction, influence and power of the Lord Jesus Christ can make an untold difference in lighting others to Him for salvation. It is every Christian’s calling to come to the Light and to reflect His light.

Lord, Christmas was filled with light. The star shone to lead Wise Men to Jesus at Bethlehem. “The glory of the Lord” that surrounded the shepherds as they heard the announcement by the angels of the Savior’s birth was accompanied by a great light. And Jesus, the Light of the world, tells us, “You are the light of the world!” Let us arise, shine, for our light is come!” In December in most of our churches, we have a double emphasis: remembering the coming of the Lord Christ to earth, and fulfilling his commission to “go, tell, share, bear light to others!” May we be faithful! Amen. –Ethelene Dyer Jones 12.14.2014.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Is Being Born Again a New Creation?

Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

The Lord Jesus said: “Ye must be born again.” John 3:7

At conception, the baby is a new identity whose DNA like its parents, yet unique. So a baby is a new creation, a new individual, but a natural person.

Jesus was talking about a new spiritual birth. “Jesus answered, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” By saying this, Christ was specifically referring to partaking of a non-human birth, from God’s Spirit. (John 3:5, 6).

Spiritual life is distinguished from natural physical birth by citing Christ as a progenitor, a new Adam in 1 Corinthians 15:45-54: "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy, the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”

The emboldened text shows that the rebirth is new, it is contrasted with the mortal, natural life from Adam. Indeed, the Apostle Paul is inspired to say: the second nature comes not from Adam, but is Christ’s life, it is a new creation. In a mysterious way, Christ’s life becomes the true believer’s life (Gal 2:20). At physical death, this new life identity goes into Christ’s presence where the soul and spirit find a heavenly dewelling that will be reunited with a glorified body (1 John 3:2):

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” This is what Paul described in the above passage from 1 Corinthians 15.

Indeed, the Apostle Paul was inspired to say: “. . . if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:. .”(2 Cor 5:17).

The contrasts in Romans 7 and 8. specifically speak about the development of a new creation, a new nature. Paul writes that “we.” believers are to serve “in newness of spirit” (Rom 7:6).

In his battle with the old nature, the flesh, Paul shows that he has a new self when he said: “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:” He describes the carnal unregenerated mind’s nature: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Rom 8:7, 8). Because he “delights” in God’s Word, this shows he has a new regenerate nature and no longer has a mind that is “enmity against God.” (Rom 8:7).

Then Paul points out the contrast of the natures: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.” (Rom 8:9).

The whole point of receiving Christ is to become “the sons of God, to be “born again” ” instead of being the sons of Adam.” But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12, 13). This is why John contrasts the means of natural birth with being born of God to become the sons of God.

It is obvious that whatever parent one has that one has the nature of their parents. A being born of a dog is a dog, one born of a whale is a whale, one born of the children of Adam and Eve are their children. Because they sinned, we are naturally sinners, so when we are born of God, we are a new creation, the children of God.

That this may not be an instant experience is seen from 1 Peter 1:23: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”

And: “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:4).

This is the prophesied experience of Jeremiah 31:31-33: “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Gentiles are grafted into the New Covenant or New Testament (Covenant and Testament are synimimns). We are to remember Christ and His death in the communion of taking the bread and wine (1 Cor 11:23-34).

To remain in the Old Testament, THE Law, under its demands, is to remain under the curse of the Law: “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” (Gal 5:4).

For Christ has become cursed to pay for our sins, because the demand of the violated Law was the curse of death: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” (Gal 3:13).

The Law can only function to show the believer the need for a sanctified, sin overcoming life, it cannot give it. For the Law cannot give the life it demands:

“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom 8:3, 4).

There are different kinds of forgiveness. There is pre-regeneration forgiveness: “When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby.” (Ezek 33:18). This is simular to the rocky ground believer in the parable of the Sower: “But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” (Matt13:20, 21).

Then there is forgiveness in regeneration that cannot be lost as God described David’s son, Solomon:

“He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.” (2 Sam 7:13-15).

The difference: as a son of God, his status is as one born again! Such will receive chastening, not condemnation: “But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” (Heb 12:8).

Then there is forgiveness for restoration of fellowship as in a family relationship: “. . If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9). “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:6, 7).

Regeneration, being born again, happens when a believer lets God’s Word deliver him or her from a life style of sin: “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (1 John 3:9 NASU).

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:23).

This is the reason that the Lord Jesus said to new believers:

“As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:30-36).

This is the nature of being born again and the condition that was prophesied by Jeremiah:

“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jer 31:33).

The Apostle Paul described being born again as a response to God’s promises as a new creation:

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor 5:17).

The Apostle Peter makes it clear that regeneration involves the application of God’s promises so that we are “partakers of the divine nature!”

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:4).

So how can a person know that one is born again? Who does that one respond to?

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (John 10:27-28).

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"Merry Christmas" to all US Residents


I will make a conscious effort to wish everyone

A Merry Christmas this year ...

My way of saying that I am celebrating

The birth Of Jesus Christ.

So I ask my email buddies,

If you agree with me,

Please do the same.

And if you'll pass this on to

Your email buddies, and so on...

Maybe we can prevent one more

American tradition from being lost in the sea of

"Political correctness".

To one and All ... and especially to the Muslim residents of the USA...
Jesus is the reason for the season!

Related reading: The Savior Has Come Among Us!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Looking for the True God?

Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

How would you know Him? There are many gods and occult demons who try to deceive. These claim to be God, so beware!

There are also religious teachers who claim to be the way of Truth. They do not claim to be God, but they would receive the honor due to God alone. Buddha did not claim to be God. Buddhism is a non-theistic religion. Some say it is not a religion at all, but a philosophy. Mohammed did not claim to be God. Islam demands obedience to the Prophet Mohammed, but such obedience belongs only to God.

No philosopher has claimed to be God. Some may claim to possess absolute truth, but none has the power to create from nothing.

By definition, God must be greater than his highest creation. That is a mark of the True God.

God's nature is unchanging and eternal. It is Goodness and Light. God alone has the power to create and re-create. If you are looking for the True God, you will discover what you need to know in the Bible. Start with the Gospel according to John.

Related reading: A.W. Tozer on Pursuing God

Monday, December 8, 2014

Consequences of Irresponsibility

Edward F Lundwall, Jr.

The recession that our nation is going into has many asking why and what caused this? The politicians and campaigns make much of this and what was done to cause this type of thing. But economic recession is not the only thing that afflicts our national and individual life. As a person would back off and look at the whole picture of individual groups, and lifestyles, the conclusion that must be made that much of American culture, yes, and world culture, can be characterized as a lifestyle of irresponsibility. There is need to identify the basic source of irresponsibility and then to examine the consequences of individual practices.

All creation has causes to the effects that we can see. This is the very nature of everything that exists. All the effects that we see in our world have causes, yes, a succession of causes. Many people just simply want to enjoy the effects without examining what caused the effects. They are talking about the effects of global warming and look for various things that might have caused the warming. Many want to say that the burning of fossil fuels have caused our world to become warmer. Some think that it is sunspots from our sun that has created the warming effect.

It is not popular to think about what might be the cause of many other social and physical problems. The universe we can observe has a very intelligent design. Indeed, scientists have identified at least 200 circumstances that must be in place for life to exist upon our earth. Astronomy has not been able to identify any other planetary system that has these necessary conditions on them.

Secular scientists are trying to establish what can be done to preserve life on this planet. As with any invention or created being to be able to utilize the benefits that are inherent with its design, there is need to both establish its inherent purpose by consulting the inventor or creator of that. Far too many people do not want to stop and think long enough about who or what is the author of the intelligent design found in the material of earth and in living things. The neglect of doing this has many people looking into the immediate causes of various things without stopping long enough to discern who the intelligent designer was. Because atheistic secular and humanistic leaders and teachers do not want to admit that there is an intelligent designer powerful enough to bring to pass the design, confusion reigns in seeking to bring the consequences into an adjustment.

Indeed when each individual tries to be his own authority, confusion and conflict enhance the problems of national and international life. Because man is not his own creation, he has neither the essential knowledge or unity and to make overall solutions to these difficulties. Even in areas where the dynamics of life are known, far too many are not responsible enough to use this knowledge to prevent adverse consequences in their lives. When man wants to be his own god. he devises his own perspectives to suit his emotional desires. By ignoring absolute truths and the nature of life, he becomes irresponsible and suffers the consequences of his behavior. As the Bible says: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Gal 6:7).

A review of present problems and conflicts will establish that secular and non-biblical world culture is a source of the consequences of irresponsible conflict and suffering. This present recession is largely due to irresponsibility both of greedy mortgage brokers and buyers who want to live beyond their means. This is multiplied by the irresponsibility of bureaucratic overseers to enforce their regulation laws. The overwhelming number of home foreclosures come from variable mortgage interest rates. Both the lenders and the borrowers were irresponsible and not calculating that when these rates went up, whether the borrowers would be able to make the payments. Foreclosures are disasters both to the borrower and to the mortgage holder. Mass foreclosures undercut the value of properties on a broad scale which caused huge losses to the mortgage holders and others when the foreclosed properties are sold. The responsible thing for these banks would be to avoid foreclosure by simply not insisting upon raising mortgage interest rates beyond the ability of the owners to make the payments. The consequences of this irresponsible behavior has endangered not only national economic survival, but has international consequences as well. Whole institutions have gone into failure and debters have had to be bailed out by hundreds of billions of dollars from the government, all because of irresponsibility.

Irresponsibility characterizes the world culture especially when biblical orientation is ignored. When parents do not raise their children to accept responsibility as a foundational orientation because all humanity are responsible to God. The Bible teaches: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth (does), that shall he also reap (experience).” (Gal 6:7). Without trust in the existence of God and His character of being a “rewarder of those who seek Him,” is it any wonder that people don’t experience the enduring good character in their life experience?

The deeds of the natural sinful nature are the result of people trying to get benefits and experiences that are contrary to a responsible relationship with God. Whatever role people find themselves, trusting God enough to be practicing obedience to His principles of life will avoid the consequences of wrong and the blessings of a responsible lifestyle.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Prayer That Saves

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

“By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:” 1 Timothy 3:16

The context speaks of Christ’s advent and the salvation He brings, but the experience of salvation is both plain and mysterious! Salvation is plain when we look to Christ alone, for Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6).

However, salvation is mysterious, especially for those who under great stress. The mystery often appears: “. . when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away . .” (Matt 13:21).

Tragically, this has been the case of those who have responded to the invitation in mass evangelistic meetings. These people have responded with hopes that their “sinner’s prayer” would bring them “happy days again!”, as if prayer were magic.

There are many who have embraced Romans 10:13 and rejoiced to think that they are saved from eternal condemnation, and all of worldly troubles. They thought, “happy days are here again” and were content not to seek divine transformation of their lives. As the Lord described: “. .the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; . .” (Matt 13:20). For he has believed and prayed the sinner’s prayer. He probably has done so on the basis of Romans 10:13: "Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved." (Rom 10:13).

So they expect that their lives will be “smooth sailing” and nothing more is needed, but when “. . when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he (they) falls away . .” They are led to believe every thing needed has been done, so they just go back to living the way they did and are not seen in Church again!

A great deal of the problem is that too many in Christian evangelism give them this impression. Many Churches don’t make any plans for “follow up!” In the Church I used to attend, they were considered orthodox when they preached against sin and gave “the altar call!”

They just assumed all that was needed was the sinner’s prayer from Romans 10:13. After one “successful” evangelistic meeting with an evangelist whose preaching was strong enough to “pull teeth,” 8 or 9 people responded, but they were not seen in Church the following Sundays. I went to the pastor and asked about follow up instruction. When asked, I was amazed that he hadn’t scheduled any. I was further amazed that he did not even have their addresses available.

I observed that maybe the reason that the Lord hadn’t given but very few souls, was because he had no plans to obey the Lord’s test that He gave the Apostle Peter when He said: "’Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these ?’" He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My lambs.’" (John 21:16). “Lambs” are the immature. This is especially true of brand new converts, and especially so when the necessity of repentance from known sin is not preached, but simply idealistically assumed.

But the Lord Jesus said: “. . unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3). And the Apostle Paul described repentance from known sin: “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, . .” (2 Cor 7:10). Some in the Corinthian Church didn’t get the message that saving faith includes repentance! Valid repentance not only forsakes sinful practices, but sorrows over their sins. Too often professed converts are told that they need to do nothing, but “believe” and claim Romans 10:13 and pray “come into my heart, Lord Jesus!”

This was vividly portrayed in the report of some missionaries to Mexico. They had led a woman in the sinner’s prayer, but she said: “I guess that I will have to give up my business now that I am ‘saved’” The missionaries told her that wasn’t necessary, we are saved by faith alone! But then she told that her business was a house of prostitution! They didn’t reveal that saving faith includes repentance from known sin! Without which there is no salvation. The Lord Jesus made this crystal clear when He said: “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 " Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'” (Matt 7:21-23).

Also, the Apostle Paul wrote: “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; . .” (2 Cor 13:5). For to be sure of spiritual life there is a necessity to use the spiritual weapons of: “ . . for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, . .” (2 Cor 10:4-6).

Clarification of Romans 10:13

To quote any saying out of its context is to make it a pretext! By neglecting context, the Bible can be quoted that “There is no God!” But in the context of this expression in Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1, this expression reveals what fools affirm in their rebellion against God.

From the context of Romans 10:13 the prayer that saves speaks of one whose life is characterized by a living relationship with God through prayer for verse 12 of the context says: “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;” (Rom 10:12).

So the prayer that saves comes from those who have an ongoing relationship of dependence upon the Lord through a lifestyle of asking for their necessities of life! This is not to say that praying a “sinner’s prayer” should not be used, but the seeking one must realize that this prayer MUST BE FOLLOWED by a continued life of dependence upon the Lord!

Amazing as it may seem there are a good number of instances in the New Testament where a saving relationship is begun by just the adoption of faith in the Person of Christ! In John 1, the first disciples who became Apostles believed, but there is nothing recorded that they said a “sinner’s prayer!” In John 8:30, it said: “As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him.” In verse 31 and 32, The Lord Jesus conditionally accepted their faith: “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." (John 8:31, 32).

However, a saving faith is begun, whether just by believing as in John 8:30 or on a cross like the thief’s prayer; it must be the beginning of a living abiding relationship, as The Lord Jesus described in John 10:27,28a: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, . .”

Indeed, a “sinner’s prayer” that is only an impulsive response and not the beginning of a faith life of being “truly disciples of Mine” is the basis for further judgement! “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matt 12:37).

So a prayer that saves, is like a bride that says: “I do” to her groom in Church and by this becomes her husband’s life long bride. So one who calls upon the Lord’s name must become as God’s “suitable helper” (Gen. 2:20-23) in serving the Lord through him.

Related reading:  Desperately Seeking in Prayer