Where Have All the (Godly) Men Gone?

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“Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where’s the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds?
Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss
And I turn
And I dream of what I need.

I need a hero. I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night. He’s gotta be strong, And he’s gotta be fast, and he’s gotta be fresh from the fight”

Where have all the good men gone? This question was asked in the lyrics from the 1984 song “I Need a Hero” from singer Bonnie Tyler.

Yes, as little as 38 years ago, a woman was singing about the need for a hero; a hero that was a good man. Oh, how times have changed.

Where have all the good men gone? Quite simply they have been canceled. Period, plain and simple.

I realize that from a Christian perspective, “good” is not salvific and that good to God is much higher in virtue than the viewpoint of the world concerning men. The point is the world desires to emasculate and effeminize men from being what God has created them to be naturally and spiritually. This is a grievous state to be in, for sure, because men who are being convinced that being honorable, virtuous, sober, leaderlike, protective, and provision minded for family and community, is somehow wrong. Men convinced of this will never seek good or the place from where all good comes. This is a real problem for the world today, and especially for the church.

Where have all the godly men gone?

The prophet Micah has an answer from what he saw in his generation.

(Micah 7:2 KJV) The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net.

 (Micah 7:2 NKJV) The faithful man has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among men. They all lie in wait for blood; Every man hunts his brother with a net.

 (Micah 7:2 NASB) The godly man has perished from the land, and there is no upright person among men. All of them lie in wait for bloodshed; Each of them hunts the other with a net.

I have included three different translations to give a full view of what it means to be godly. In the first place,godly” does mean to be a good person, meaning not good in the way that “good” is salvific, but that it is supernaturally produced and a consistent product of the indwelling Spirit of God. Secondly, to be “godly” means one is “faithful”, which implies the godly are not only hearers of the word of God, but doers of the word; and that their character portrays the attributes of Christ. In simple form, this reveals the godly man.

Now in Micah’s day, the “godly” man had all but become extinct in Israel. Religious men were either totally selfish in their pursuits and used religion to gain power and more of what they wanted, or men were disinterested in the call of God. This general trend began long prior to the prophet Micah’s time and the prophet Isaiah revealed the ungodly religious environment that permeated Jewish faith.

(Isaiah 3:12 NKJV) As for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err and destroy the way of your paths.”

This was also a huge problem in the day of the prophet Jeremiah.

(Jeremiah 44:15-19 NKJV) 15 Then all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense to other gods, with all the women who stood by, a great multitude, and all the people who dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying: 16As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the LORD, we will not listen to you! 17 But we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings and our princes, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, were well-off, and saw no trouble. 18 But since we stopped burning incense to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine.” 19 The women also said, “And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did we make cakes for her, to worship her, and pour out drink offerings to her without our husbands’ permission?

Make no mistake, the idea of godly men being few in the majority and soft, was also a problem throughout church story. Consider the warning to the church of Thyatira in Revelation 2:18-29.

(Revelation 2:20 NKJV) 20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.

In my biblically informed opinion, the above passage of scripture is one of the strongest reasons for godly men to be disappearing from the church, in our time. In the Church of Thyatira, the angel (messenger) of that church, who would have been its presiding elder or bishop, was aware of the false teaching and the false teacher, who was corrupting the church. The problem is nothing was being done. In fact, Jezebel was part of the pastoral team.

This is why she was about to be cast on a sick bed, rather than killed, because she was improperly given authority to spread false teaching and practice. This was a failure of godly leadership, who were afraid of the consequences of acting in discipline, in good faith. Therefore, her sickness was to remind them of the plight of those who disobey God.

In the American church, it is 1000 percent worse. Almost every denomination seeks to break the proverbial glass ceiling and be the first to eradicate biblical gender roles in the church. This is very dangerous, when the New Testament clearly teaches well defined roles for both men and women.

There is a dearth of women teaching in the modern church, but that dearth of teaching is specifically defined.

(Titus 2:1-5 NKJV) ​1 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: 2 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; 3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

In my pastoral experience I have seen marriages which are terribly unbiblical and out of step with the word of God. In every location, I have asked women if they had been personally discipled in the above passage of scripture, by example and teaching from a godly older woman. Those who had been are in the extreme minority.

Herein lies the problem. Even suggesting this can get me cancelled inside of the church, inside my own denominational setting, because of the rise of egalitarian views (improperly and unbiblically equalizing the sexes by explaining away gender roles in the church), but also because godly men are afraid to stand up and speak the truth in love.

When women are not called to live the call of godly womanhood, it does place a strain on men who desire to be godly. That said, I believe there is still another more pressing reason for the loss of godly men in the church of Jesus Christ in America…

To be a godly man means the complete death of oneself. This is very difficult indeed. Note, I did not say impossible, but it will cost a man everything he was apart from Christ, and everything he desires for himself in this life.

(Psalms 4:3-8 NKJV) 3 But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly; The LORD will hear when I call to Him. 4 Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed and be still. Selah 5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness and put your trust in the LORD.6 There are many who say, “Who will show us any good?” LORD, lift the light of Your countenance upon us. 7 You have put gladness in my heart, more than in the season that their grain and wine increased. 8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

 In the first place, being a godly man is difficult because it means God has set us apart for His purposes alone. This means the LORD desires us to be involved and engaged in His plan and will, not our own plan and will (Proverbs 3:5-7; Romans 8:14). The idea of being “set apart” deals with us as sacred vessels, such as those in the Jewish temple, used only for God’s purpose and in His service. When not in use, the vessels were to be cleaned and waiting further use, not off being used for other purposes.

(1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 NKJV) 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God.

Secondly, a godly man must realign his heart with the heart of God, that His anger would be a godly expression of faith, rather than a reflection of his own selfish desires expressed in the wrath of man (James 1:19-20).

For a godly man to do this, he must seek to rest in Christ alone, as He mediates on the word both day and night, even when he is lying down on his bed. This is the third reason it is costly to be a godly man. Anxiety over the desire to fix uncomfortable situations may be a manly thing to do, but the godly man seeks to expel anxiety, by aligning his desires with that of mind of Christ. This takes a commitment to the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:1-2), which implies the godly man is seeking to hide the word of God in his heart 24 hours a day (Psalm 1 and 119:9-12).

 A fourth reason for the difficulty in being a godly man, is his need to renounce and reject the desire for a pity party, when things do not go well for him. Psalm 4:6 declares “There are many who say, “Who will show us any good?” LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us. 7 You have put gladness in my heart, more than in the season that their grain and wine increased”.

In this passage we see the godly man rejecting the pattern of the ungodly to declare in trial, that no one, including God, will show them any good. The godly man remembers the goodness of God and holds to that testimony, as a means of spiritual buoyancy. The godly man must strive to rejoice that every trial is a means of Abba’s loving chastisement. (I Peter 1:6-7).

 (Hebrews 12:1-6 NKJV) ​1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. 5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”

As the godly man remembers the Lord Jesus Christ and fights to keep looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, He lifts the godly man’s countenance, which leads to our last reason being a godly man is costly and rare in our day.

“For you alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8). The godly man understands that it is God who is present with him and makes a man at peace, whether they are in a prison cell—before a firing squad—during abundance or in the throes of abject poverty—being abased and humiliated or abounding in favor. The godly man must reject the desire to improve his station in life, for the circumstances of his life, whether good or bad are seen as ordained or allowed by God for His purposes, because the godly man’s life is not his own. The godly man belongs to Christ, as His purchased possession (Acts 20:28; I Corinthians 6:19-20).

I admit that in my desire to be a godly man, I have failed at times and failed miserably, but that has not diminished the desire to be what brings the Lord Jesus Christ glory and shows the world what He can do in those He has purchased.

Men, we are called to be godly.

Yes, that will mean persecution and tribulation (II Timothy 3:12), but that is one way we can experience the peace of God, being exactly what we were redeemed to be; sober, godly, righteous, in the midst of this perverse generation.

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The Spirit of False Teaching: JEZEBEL (Revelation 2:18-29) Brother David Wilkerson

Please listen to this message from David Wilkerson, from 25 years ago. This will encourage any godly minister who has been batted around for preaching the doctrine of Christ alone.

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What was out Lord Jesus doing between His death and Resurrection, on the third day?

After out Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, was laid in the tomb and the entrance was sealed, what was He doing? This is no insignificant question. Click below to find out what God’s word declares and be encourage with what it means for us.

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Did God Bring About the Creation of the Airplanes? (The “prince of the power of the air” Part I)

A couple of months ago I saw a YouTube video produced by a young man named Colin Miller, concerning false teacher Kenneth Copeland.  Colin has a widely viewed YouTube channel with some good content, despite approaching most issues from an entirely Reformed/Calvinistic perspective. That said, there are times, where his approach to a topic is misguided. The video concerning Kenneth Copeland and a scenario Colin presents to Copeland’s status as a false teacher is one of them.

This is not to say that the young man is incorrect concerning the character of Copeland’s life or teaching. Let me be clear, Kenneth Copeland is a dangerous false teacher. He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and a man who fleeces of the flock of God. Where I took issue with Miller’s presentation was how he defined God, based on one of Copeland’s outlandish statements.

In the video (click here to see it) we see Kenneth Copeland tell of how God gave him his own plane to do his ministry. As Copeland relates the story, as he was on site to take possession of the plane, two Christian men working approached him asking him if that was the new airplane. They said “think of that… the Lord’s airplane”. In response Copeland said “No! I dedicated it to Him, but it’s mine!”

In response to Copeland’s statement, Colin Miller declared that the false teacher rejected God’s authority based on the fact that the plane was made from materials that God created and was designed by men, only when God in His providence, ordained it to be made. Miller declares the young men rightly said it was God’s airplane, because everything we see has been graciously given by God.

Colin’s characterization reveals an error in his thinking directly related to his Reformed/Calvinistic background that implies God is responsible for all inventions good or bad, which reveals a common error in many Christian’s minds (reformed or otherwise). Does God own the airplane, because by He responsible for their creation?

In the first place, I appreciate Colin Miller attempting to call out false teachers, especially men like Copeland. The problem is that his reasoning is wrong and actually can lead to the impugning of the character of God. On a side note, the plane belongs to Copeland, because he fleeced his flock to get it through coercion and false teaching. Additionally, the plane will burn on the day of the Lord, when all that is not of God is burned up (II Peter 3:8-13).

That said, let’s dive into the idea Miller presents: Because the materials to make the airplane come from the creation of God, He is the owner of airplanes, having providentially ordained them in the mind of men. Make no mistake, this reasoning makes God the creator, by proxy, of airplanes.

This comes from a false theological position concerning the sovereignty of God, from Calvinism, that makes God even the author of evil. This was not Miller’s desire, but it is what his reasoning assumes. 

By Colin Miller’s reasoning, not only are airplanes God’s ordained creation, so are televisions, radio’s, computers, and the internet. One might say, “Yeah so what? Those can be good things.” Well ok, but what of condoms? Does not the rubber come from something which is a creation of God? Surely they do, but condoms only have one purposes, to allow sexual immorality without consequence. 

Or what of  the pharmaceutical drug BIKTARVY? What is that you ask? Well, it is a drug specifically made for those who have HIV AIDS, for the purpose of them being able to have sexually immoral sex, with less risk of passing on their disease. Remember that the overwhelming majority of those who contract HIV AIDS are homosexual males. Do not the ingredients for this drug come from the earth that God created? Yes, they do. Does that mean that God providentially ordained it to be created in the mind of men, so they can continue to pursue an abominable behavior?

Or what of those who created the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which kicked off an arms race which continues till this day (with immeasurable levels of devastation)? And for the one who would say it saved millions of lives, I get it, but remember, God loves all life, even those who are His enemies. Where did the creators of such destructive devices get their materials? From the earth that God created. Where did they get the design for something so efficient in taking life made in the image of God?

We could do the same with radio, T.V., computers, and the internet, because the damage caused through these devices being used, far outweighs any benefit, exponentially. Did God providentially ordain these inventions as well? I am going to say, “NO!”

Let us now consider a more appropriate understanding of these creations. Let us consider planes, trains, automobiles, radio, T.V.. and computers (internet). Do not all these inventions make the world smaller, bring humanity closer, break down language barriers, making it easier for humans to unite? Sure enough. Am I saying a person is sinning to use them? No, but that does not change the reality that the ideas were not from God.

Why would God, specifically ordain the creation of things that are contrary to what He did at Babel for the purpose of keeping humanity from unifying?

Genesis 11:1-8 (NKJV) Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the LORD said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.

Interestingly, they gathered together at Babel, at the direction of Nimrod (a type of antichrist), in defiance of God’s command after the flood “to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 9). Do we not live in times where the inventions of man are approaching a place where “nothing that they purpose to do will be withheld from them?” Yes! This is how we know we are living in the days before Christ’s return.

Daniel 12:1-4 (NKJV) “At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

Wow! The LORD ends the prophecy of Daniel with end times events prophesied by our Lord Himself, but then states in the time of the end men “will run to and fro and knowledge will be greatly increased.”

I do not know any biblical scholars who believe verse 4 to mean that is something good. In our day men run all over the world and knowledge is greatly increased.

Back in the early 2000’s I heard an illustration analogous to the increase of knowledge in the last 100 years. They took all the accumulated knowledge from the beginning of written history and calculated it into a measurement. They used the Empire State Building’s height, 1454 feet, to represent that accumulation of knowledge all the way to 1900. Then they calculated the increase of knowledge from 1900 to the present day (back in early 2000’s) to be the height of Mt. Everest, which is 29,035 feet.

The difference between the first 6000 years of history as compared to the last 100 years of history is 19 times greater than that previous 6000. 

Should we attribute this to God or perhaps the inventions of man, who pervert the creation of God? Remember that the New Testament does speak of knowledge falsely so called.

1 Timothy 6:20-21 (NKJV) O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledgeby professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.

Interestingly, we see all kinds of men with “great minds” purporting “knowledge” (another translation is science) which contradicts God as the Creator. In their pursuit the use martials from God’s creation, to produce devices that give us a sense of independence from God, and personal sovereignty. The only problem is we become slaves to these material things.

1 Timothy 6:3-5 (NKJV) If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.

Romans 1:28-32 (NKJV) And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

Although all these things happen under the sovereignty of Almighty God, we can clearly see that men are evil and do invent evil things, based on their disposition and the purpose for which these things are created. It is important to remember that anything not directly created by God, will burn in the Day of the LORD (II Peter 3:8-13).

That being said, it is important to consider where the idea for these things may have originated, for the purpose of understanding the apostacy of the last days.

Earlier, in regard to the tower of Babel I asked a question, let me ask it once more. Why would God create things that push humanity into a unity that is in rebellion against Himself? The simple answer is He would not. Let me also ask again, do we not live in times where the inventions of man are approaching a place where “nothing that they purpose to do will be withheld from them“? Yes! 

If not God’s providential ordinance, from where do many of these inventions come from? Let’s consider a possible influence and sinister foundation for more than a few. Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626).

Bacon was a British statesman rising to the position of Lord Chancellor. He was also a known occultist who was clandestinely involved in Rosicrucianism: a mystic combination of Judaism and Gnosticism. This false religion denies the deity of Christ.

Bacon was also connected to Freemasonry and is credited by many as the most important power behind the British colonization of North America; being foundational in the first colonies in Virginia.

Thomas Jefferson, a Virginian, cited Sir Francis Bacon (Rosicrucianism), Sir Isaac Newton (Freemasonry), and Sir John Lock (Rosicrucianism/Freemasonry) as the most important influences of the American Revolution. Jefferson, George Washington, Thomas Paine, and Ben Franklin were devotees of Bacon’ and his Novel called “New Atlantis“, published in 1626.

The book was written in Novel form and is recognized as Bacon’s vision for the nation that would rise out of the colonization of North America. Manly P. Hall preeminent scholar of Freemasonry, cites “New Atlantis” as the foundation prophecy for the new world order of Freemasonry, which he details in his work, “The Secret Destiny of America”, published in 1944.

Why is “New Atlantis” germane to our discussion? Because in this novel, Bacon prophesies a country with flying machines transporting hundreds through the sky, skyscraping buildings housing millions, and weapons of mass destruction, capable of killing millions in one event. All this from a man who was ensconced in the occult, or hidden knowledge, and connected with societies that are Luciferian. An all over 390 years ago

Consider for a moment the words of American scientist, and leader of the effort to create the atom bombs used on Japan, when he saw the first test at Los Alamos. On the day, Robert Oppenheimer quoted the Bhagavad-Gita, which is the satanic scripture of the Hindi religion, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

Let me preface my next remarks. I am not saying that every invention in the last 122 years is of the devil. What I am saying is that we need to be very careful about assigning responsibility to God, when He, although Almighty in His Sovereignty, allows humanity to choose to obey Him, be led by Him or to go their own way. That said, many inventions of the last 122 years are not good for humanity, even if they are thought to be.

Is it possible that the kingdom of darkness, through men of corrupt minds, is bringing about inventions perceived as good, for the purpose of being used by the “prince of the power of the air” to blind the world to Christ?

Next time we will dig a bit deeper into this question. You’ll be surprised how close the enemy has gotten even to those called in Christ.

Ephesians 2:1-3 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

God's Sovereignty vs Man Will - Creation Studies Institute

 

 

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TWO WORDS that do not FIT TOGETHER: “hybrid” and “church”

Below is a link to a video blog I published today, April 1, 2022. I assure you this is not an April Fool’s joke, but a serious examination on an emerging ministry methodology and mindset, which may damage the church of Jesus Christ further.  Please click below to watch.

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When I come… will there be FAITH? Part II

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(Luke 18:6-8 NKJV) ​6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” 

In my last article we discussed how perseverant prayer is inexorably tied to faith in the very last days. The passage above are Christ’s concluding comments on a parable He told, for the purpose of communicating that men ought always to pray and not lose heart. The parable reveals the persistence of this widow to move an unjust judge to action, when he did not fear God or man. The unjust judge gave her justice, for the widow wore him out.

It is in this context our Lord Jesus Christ speaks thusly in concluding the parable. His summation reveals…

  1. God will certainly answer us swiftly, but we must grasp that our understanding of time, cannot inform what we assume is a swift answer to God. This is because He is eternal and is not constrained by time (II Peter 3:8-11).
  2. Therefore, we must concentrate on praying persistently and in faith. This means holding to His exceeding and precious promises, regardless of how long it takes, or how difficult the circumstances are.
  3. Because of our Lord’s non rhetorical question “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth“, we must regard the possibility of losing heart, leaving off persistent prayer, and therefore our faith being little or nonexistent at His return.

As stated in the last blog, our problem with persistent faith, is that we face difficulties, which sneer at our belief in God’s promises. We also live in a fast-food world, where we have been trained, especially in the prosperity heresy, that faith means instantaneous answers to all prayer.

Thankfully, these errors and Christian cultural overlay are debunked by the parable we have been discussing. That being said, it does not mean we will automatically overcome our impatience, which can lead to unbelief, where we say we trust and believe God, but live looking for answers outside of waiting on the Lord to answer us speedily.

How do we persevere that when Christ returns, He finds faith in us? By acknowledging we are prone to impatience and disappointment.

LOSING HEART AND MISSING FAITH IS REAL RISK

(Luke 18:1) Then He spoke this parable that men ought always to pray and not to lose heart”.

For Christians, Jesus’ question ought to unsettle us, especially when we consider I John 5:14-16, where we read…

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him”.

One would assume we have reason to always rejoice, being this passage is a guarantee, but the reality is that despair is often around the corner quickly, when our petition appears to be delayed. We can mitigate this despair by reminding ourselves that our timing does not line up with His time frame, but the reality is we need to go to the Lord in prayer again in the despair, asking again, not that He needs to be reminded, for He does not. We need to be reminded in our impatience that He is faithful to answer.

Let us be honest, our human nature is prone toward losing heart. The scriptures speak to this reality, and not as if it makes us bad people.

(Proverbs 13:12 NKJV) Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.

(Psalms 27:13-14 NKJV) I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!

I think you will agree, sometimes it feels as if we are being kept from the tree of life, as we wait on God. The key to perseverant faith is to hold to His promise, rejoicing each time we go to Him to ask, seek and knock; no matter how long it takes in our time.

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We must be careful, because we want to be faithful, but faith is not like little orphan Annie where she sings “When I’m stuck with a day that’s grey and lonely, I just stick out my chin and grin and say… the sun will come out tomorrow”. Sometimes the sun does not shine on us. Despite this reality, we must remember that the Sun of Righteousness has risen, with healing in His wings.

The reason for Jesus question in Luke 18, is that we face a very real antichrist system already. This system has been in place for a very long time and had grown in influence with each passing year. The authoritarianism of the Covid-19 years had advanced this system and its components, as never before seen. in addition to this, the word of God reveals that part of the antichrist doctrine and system is to cause the saints to lose heart.

(Daniel 7:25 NKJV) He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time.

(Revelation 13:5-7 NKJV) And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them

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We are in the precursor to the time described above, but regardless we are called to connect repeatedly in persistence and perseverance faith. When Jesus asks, “When the Son of Man comes again, will He find faith on earth?” This is not a rhetorical question, but one of real inquiry.

In order to avoid losing heart, we must learn to be content in any situation knowing He is with us and will supply our need through the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). In order to avoid losing heart, our prayers must be shot at the center of the target, His will.

In order to avoid losing heart, we must work to holding fast to the word of life in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation.

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When I come… will there be FAITH?

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(Luke 18:1-8 NKJV) ​1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.'” 6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” 

We live in extraordinary times. Daily we see the world heading towards the fulfillment of the words of Jesus the Christ, from the Gospels all the way to revelation, concerning the events and happenings preceding His visible return to this earth, where He gathers His church to be with Him and puts down the wicked of the world at Armageddon.

We understand that those events contain wars and rumors of wars, pestilence, earthquakes all over the world, and famine. We understand that the oceans will roar, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken, and men’s hearts will fail them for fear. We understand that Christians will be hated by all nations. Regardless of where one stands concerning the timing of the rapture, we can generally agree with the difficulties of the times we live in. It is for this reason Jesus spoke the parable of the widow and the unjust judge.

In addition to these realities, the Lord Jesus Christ also understands the nature of the weakness of our flesh—the powers at work against us and the difficulty we experience in continuing in faith, when the going gets more than untenable.  It is for this reason Jesus spoke the parable of the widow and the unjust judge.

As stated previously, our Lord understand the difficulty we face when it appears all hope is lost, and our only apparent options will pummel us with pain and loss. He understands from personal experience, as Hebrews 4:15-16 reveals “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”.

Verse 1 reveals our Lord Jesus spoke this prayer that men ought always to pray and never lose heart. It is noteworthy that pray is not defined as hearing from or speaking to God, interceding or supplicating for others, or crying out for personal provision. I believe His intent includes all of the above, but even more that we would never lose heart to seek the Lord and engage with His presence in relational discourse, by faith.

Given the nature of the hour we live in and the purpose for Jesus speaking this parable, it is very important that we seek to answer the question posed by our Lord in verse 8 “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?In seeking to answer this question as a means of working out our salvation in fear and trembling, we will learn a few things.

We will learn that the unjust judge communicates something about the character of God, and that the widow communicates something lacking in us. We will consider the very real risk of losing endurance in our faith, in these last days of growing apostacy. Hopefully we will be grounded further in perseverant and importunate and faithful praying. May we all consider the contents of this teaching as if our faith and relationship to God depended on laying hold of the purpose of the parable, because it does.

THE UNJUST JUDGE AND THE WIDOW

In this parable the widow petitions the judge to get justice for her. It appears the widow has a lawful case, but the judge refuses to do what is according to the law. Eventually he does rule in her favor, not because of right motives, nor because he feared the eventual righteous judgment of God, for his improper discharge of authority. He finally moved because the woman kept coming to him over and over and over again, face to face. He was sick of her and knew she would never quit coming. She was persistent, to the point of annoyance.

On a side note, we ought to regard the disposition of the judge, for we who have been so blessed by God, should not need to be pounded with conviction by the Holy Spirit, or the sight of great need over and again, to be moved with compassion. It is easy for us to become calloused to the needs of others and justify inaction, because of the enormity of so many needs or that some appear to work the system. Regard the word of God.

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(Proverbs 3:27-28 NKJV) 27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so. 28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it,” When you have it with you.

(James 4:17 NKJV) 17Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

(1 John 3:17 NKJV) 17But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

ABOUT GOD’S CHARACTER

In verse 6 our Lord calls us to “Hear what the unjust judge says”. This is a challenge to us to compare the unjust judge and His need for continual pressure, to our benevolent Father, who requires no such pounding plea. Because we are in Christ, we simply go to Him in faith and ask according to His will, knowing we will receive an answer (I John 5:14-26). This reveals the wonderful character of God to those who are His children, through the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Another comparison used by the Lord Jesus Christ is that of natural fathers in comparison to the Perfect Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

(Luke 11:9-13 NKJV)9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” 

God’s character is faithful and…

“And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.”

Concerning His avenging us speedily, it simply means He will answer us with great speed, without hesitation. This ought to cause us great rejoicing, but alas there is a problem, especially when we enter times of great trial. Our problem is that God’s “speedily”, is not our “speedily”.

Our “speedily” needs to be adjusted, because we often think that it is according to our time, but remember God is eternal, He has no clock (II Peter 3:8-11).

(2 Peter 3:8-12 NKJV)8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 

The passage above was written to deal with the seemingly long passage of time, between Christ’s ascension into heaven and His promise to return. In that day, as our day, scoffers were mocking and suggesting that Christians had missed the Day of the Lord’s return. Into this context we find “that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day”. 

This was not stated to define God’s clock, but to remind us that His eternality is beyond our grasp. To our Father, the death of His Son was as it was only two days ago. The atonement, in Christ’s cross and resurrection are enteral truths that are eternal actions; as the Lord Jesus Christ is the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world (I Peter 1:17-25). It is for this reason that the cross of Christ will continue to save until He comes, whether it is in 5 minutes, 5 years, 10 years or 50.

So, we see that God Himself is faithful, but because of our finite nature, where time is all we have ever known, we must learn the character of the persistent widow, for losing heart is a real risk. Especially given the times we are in.

Remember that she went persistently, every day to the unjust judge. Perhaps she thought is was to remind him of his responsibility. We know with our God this is not the case. He needs no reminder of His exceedingly great and precious promises. The reason for our persistence is more about us reminding ourselves of God’s faithfulness, in what we see as extended delays.

We can become weary and lose heart in these times. The widow would have as well, had it not been for her persistent, consistent and enduring petition. Once more, we exercise persistent fervent prayer, to remind ourselves that God is with us—He is faithful—and His answer is coming speedily. We are persistent to hold to His will when we become weary and lose heart.

In our next post we will consider the context of some well-known passages of scripture, as we seek to mitigate the risk of losing heart in our call to pray always.

The Coming Son of Man

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Conditioned for Antichrist by Comic Book Hero’s?

Dear friends please prayerfully watch the video I have linked to below. It is approximately 2 hours (you may have to rent it for $3.99), and deals with how Marvel and D.C. Comic Heros from their beginning have been written by those who desired to destroy the faith, having their own Gnostic and Satanic morality; and how the Marvel and D.C. movies are conditioning the world’s people to believe the “the lie” (Romans 1:18-25; II Thessalonians 2:9-12).

This process is called “Gnostic Inversion” and has been part of its doctrine from Babel. Their end is to convince the world that God and His Christ are the enemy, which the Lord clearly deals with in Psalm 2.

Psalms 2 (NKJV) Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure: “Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion.” “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.'” Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

I have written about this conditioning process in a blog series “The Danger of the Lie”. I will provide links to that series below. Directly below is the link to the movie expose you need to watch. Click the picture.

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CLICK THE PICTURE TO LINK TO THE MOVIE

The Danger of “THE LIE” (#1)

The Danger of “THE LIE” (#2)

The Danger of “the LIE” (#4)

The Danger of “the LIE” #5

The Danger of “the LIE” #6

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More Glorious than the Ministry of Death? Part III

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NKJV) Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

In part II of this series, we discussed how there is a veil over the human heart, concerning the word of God. This veil makes understanding the word of God impossible, until removed. When one turns to the Lord Jesus Christ in absolute surrender, the veil is removed. We understand there are three definitive experiences which take place when one turns to the Lord and that veil is removed.

I. HIS WORD BECOMES ALIVE & ACTIVE IN OUR UNDERSTANDIN

II. BEHOLDING THE MESSIAH WE ARE TRANSFORMED

In these first two we see how our beholding Christ, transforms our lives, by the formation of Christ’s character in us. This takes a continual attitude of humility and desire to know Christ more. We are beholding the Person of the Word of God in the scriptures, not Bible facts. These first two are clearly revealed as the ministry of the Spirit “Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (II Corinthians 4:16).

Yet there is a third aspect of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, which is more glorious than the ministry of death, as seen through Moses.

III. AS WE ARE TRANSFORMED, WHAT IS INSIDE SHINES FORTH

2 Corinthians 3:18 – 4:2 (NKJV) But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

I have highlighted the word “Therefore” because it is the beginning of chapter 4. Interestingly many have memorized II Corinthians 3:18 (concerning the ministry of the Spirit), in beholding the Living Word of God and being transformed into what we behold yet have no clue what Chapter 4 verse one declares. You may be asking why this is important. The reason it is important is because the truth communicated in chapter 3, continues and is expanded upon throughout chapter 4.

We must remember that scripture was not written with chapter numbers, verse numbers, or paragraph headings, as study aids. In fact, the New Testament, originally written in Greek, has no punctuation. Our desire for modern aids of study, often makes unnatural breaks in the context of the scripture and fragments our understanding of what God is communicating. This is not the only place this occurs in the New Testament.

When considering the word “Therefore” (4:1), we must understand that it connects what is about to be said with what was previously stated. In our case, we read, “Therefore, since we have this ministry”. What ministry is being referred too? The more glorious ministry of beholding, which begins when a person turns to the Lord, in absolute surrender and beholds Christ in His written and spoken word; from II Corinthians 3:18.

Therefore” then communicates what has been transformed inside us, must come out and in a powerful way.

“Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God

This is seen in a twofold ministry of…

  1. Not losing heart in trial and continuing in fellowship together.
  2. Shining forth Christ in us, as we minister the Gospel concerning Him.

The second point is seen in three aspects of character.

  1. We renounce the hidden things of shame; meaning we are walking in sanctification and righteousness, rather than practicing sin.
  2. We speak Christ crucified and His word in truth, not for personal gain or to place ourselves above anyone (consider verse 5).
  3. Not only do we preach the truth, but we live the truth in such a way that our lives are a sword manifesting the truth of Christ we preach into their very conscience.

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This is where we see a very powerful illustration of the veil, its creator, and what it produces.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NKJV) But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

Even though the world around us is blinded by this satanic veil, which pulls at the sinful self-will of man, God gives us a command.

2 Corinthians 4:6 (NKJV) For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Remember that Jesus calls us “the light of the world, a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden”, in Matthew 5:13-16. This is where we see the more glorious ministry of the Spirit, over the ministry of death, through Moses. The glory that radiated from Moses was unable to remove the veil over Israel’s heart. Christ, the hope of glory shining forth from us, will not perish and can remove the veil on the heart of the lost, and bring spiritual sight to the blind.

This is only possible by our beholding Christ (in His word) and being transformed inwardly. What God has formed in us, of the Christ life, must shine forth.

Sadly, this is not the case for far too many Christians, who appear to either be natural men without understanding concerning the word of God—or those who have ceased beholding the image of Christ, as they engage the word of God.

Why are so many Christians, all of whom are to walk in the ministry of the Spirit, not commending themselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God? Why are so many not shining forth?

The answer is simple. All Christians have this potential through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, yet it is limited until the individual is baptized in the Spirit, receiving the fullness of the Holy Spirit. This is the gift of the Father ministered by Christ Himself, upon those who have absolutely surrendered (Luke 11:13Acts 1:4, 8).

To understand the one who has committed to Christ in absolute surrender let us look at two passages, which reveals this state of being.

Philippians 1:19-21 (NKJV) For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Revelation 12:11 (NKJV) And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

Both passages are true of those who were the first to be baptized in the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. It was true of those who were filled again with the Holy Spirit in Acts 4:23-31, it was true of Cornelius house in Acts 10:34-46 and the Ephesians believers in Acts 19:1-10. It will be the state of all who receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, which begins their life in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

Since I mentioned the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and many of my readers attend Pentecostal churches, let me briefly handle tongues. Although unknown tongues are the normative initial evidence of being baptized in the Holy Spirit (in Acts of the Apostles), they are not the ongoing evidence, nor are they the purpose of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

The purpose of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is “power” to be Christ’s witnesses (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4, 8). It is true this at times includes wonderful and miraculous sign gifts, which testify to the truth of the gospel, but our passage from II Corinthians 4:7-11 reveal what power to be His witnesses means.

2 Corinthians 4:7-12 (NKJV) But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyedalways carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you.

Wow! It does not get any clearer than that. When considering what the ministry of beholding Christ in the mirror of God’s word produces, it is easy to understand our need for the power of the Holy Spirit, to PERSEVERE in escalating temptations, trials and tribulations.

When we shine forth for Christ, commending ourselves in the conscience of every man in the sight of God, we can be certain, that the one who has blinded the minds of the unbelieving takes notice; and seeks to destroy our ability to shine.

This is the reason Paul and the apostles were hard pressed on every side, as will anyone who absolutely surrenders and lays hold of the fulness of the Spirit. The more we shine, the more pressed we are with perplexing and prospective blows. It is the fulness of the Holy Spirit in the one being hard pressed, which steady’s them with power and hope by His inward fulness of Spirit.

The ministry of the Spirit must ultimately take place in circumstances, which lead through the valley of the shadow of death. This means we will be led, by the Lord into situations beyond our ability to contend with, which catalyzes our shining forth.

Therefore, we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our moral flesh.

Soon all Christians, in every land will feel what this means. Let me encourage you to seek absolute surrender now, be transformed inwardly, shine forth and when trouble comes, rejoice and glory in your infirmities; for when you are weak, He is strong through you.

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More Glorious than the Ministry of Death? Part II

God's Mirror

2 Corinthians 3:7-8 (NKJV) But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?

2 Corinthians 3:11 (NKJV) For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.

 2 Corinthians 3:13-16 (NKJV) unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

(* link too More Glorious than the Ministry of Death #1)

As discussed in part I of this series, when one turns to the Lord fully, the veil is taken away from the heart; that person can now by faith experience the ministry of the Spirit of God. As verse 11 proclaims, this ministry of the Spirit is more glorious in its effect on the follower of Jesus Christ, than what Moses experienced by being in the presence of God.

The reason for this is that the ministry of the Spirit works from within the Christian, rather than merely affecting us temporarily from the outside. Let us consider just one chapter ahead of our text.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NKJV) Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

It is extremely important to remember that, in Christ’s atonement on our behalf, not only is the sin account made completely clean, but we are also given a deposit of the Holy Spirit inwardly (Ephesians 1:13-15). Therefore, we understand we are holy in His sight and can boldly come into His presence, as well as having Him seated in our humanity, by the Spirit.

This means, not only can we overcome the old man patterns of sin in our life, but we also can obey His commands and walk in submission to Christ, as He leads by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 2:20). This is what is being referred to as “the inward man being renewed day by day”. This is where we begin to see the exceedingly more glorious of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, as it extends to our entire triparate being.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NKJV) Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

Interestingly, this truth is communicated in the clearest atonement passage, from the Old Testament.

Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV) But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

The glory of God’s presence in the ministry of death, produced power results in Moses’ physical, mental and emotional life, even though it was only outward and perishing. How much more a glorious shine on the lives of every sincere follower of Christ, when the ministry of the Spirit of God will not pass away and is inward in us?

Let us consider one example of many in Acts of the Apostles: the man Stephen. Stephen was a normal, faithful Christian man. His love for Jesus Christ was apparent by what was observed concerning his life. Filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, as well as sings and wonders (Acts 6:5, 8), he was dragged into a dispute, which led to him being brought before the Jewish Sanhedrin (religious congress) to testify concerning accusations against him. This led to him being the first martyr of the Church.

Consider how the ministry of the Spirit affected him further. In Acts 6:10 it is revealed that his detractors “were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke”. As he was brought before the council, we find the more glorious ministry of the Spirit affected even his outward appearance, “And all who sat in the council looking steadfastly at, saw his face as the face of an angel” (Acts 6:15).

We also observe the more glorious ministry of the Spirit, in how Stephen died manifesting the life of Christ (more on that in part III). Let us consider again, how we lay hold of the ministry of the Spirit: by turning toward the Lord (II Corinthians 3:16).

As we discovered in part one, there was a veil on Israel’s heart collectively, when the word of the LORD was read. This veil is a symbol of self-will. This veil is removed, when one turns to the Lord Jesus Christ in repentance and faith. This two-fold action is one of absolute surrender, as Romans 10:9 reveals “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your hear that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved”.

Unveiling the Veil by Joey Asher Tan

Although some ministers would like to create two categories of Christians, those who are saved and those who are saved who have taken Him as Lord, this is gross exegetical error. If Christ is not Lord of your life, through repentant absolute surrender to trusting and obeying Him, He cannot be your Savior.

By that understanding, “when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away”, we must understand that all men, in addition to Israel, have a veil on their heart. II Corinthians 4:3 reveals this truth. So what occurs in us when the veil is taken away? How does the ministry of the Spirit begin in us?

I. HIS WORD BECOMES ALIVE & ACTIVE IN OUR UNDERSTANDING

It is no secret that the symbol of having a veil on their heart meant they could not understand the word of God, therefore it was not living and active to them or anyone, in whom their heart is still veiled. Therefore, when the veil is removed, as a person turns to the Lord, their human spirit is enlivened by God’s Spirit, for the purpose of understanding the word of God, His gospel.

I Corinthians 2:14 gives us insight into this truth. “But the natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned”. This can be seen in the lives of Christ’s disciples themselves. Consider how clueless they often were, when Christ would give them scriptural truth, how often he had to admonish them for little faith or a lack of understanding.

It was not until Christ had appeared to them in the upper room, the day of His resurrection and rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart (Mark 16:14), breathed on them saying “receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22-23), that they were able to understand the word of God (Luke 24:45). This is when the ministry of the Spirit began in them. It was magnified when they were baptized in the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, as they began to walk in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

The ministry of the Spirit begins when one turns to the Lord in absolute surrender and can understand the spoken and written word. This is where we begin to behold the Lord Himself.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NKJV) Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Let me state, we must hold the word of God, the Bible, as no mere earthly book. Inspired by the Holy Spirit it is not a Christian textbook, but a doorway we step into to meet with Christ, who is the WORD (John 1:1-5). Therefore, understanding God’s word is not about knowing facts, figures, or biblical information, but about KNOWING HE WHO IS THE WORD, in relationship. When we understand this, the ministry of the Spirit can then begin to be more glorious in our triparate being.

God's Mirror

II. BEHOLDING THE MESSIAH WE ARE TRANSFORMED

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 

Interestingly, we are reminded that this is for all believers with “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding, as in a mirror”. It is very interesting that the Holy Spirit chooses to use the allusion of a mirror.

In James 1:22-23 we are commanded to be doers of the word of God and not hearers only, for a man who hears God’s word and does not do God’s word, is like a natural man that looks at himself in a mirror and forgets what he looks like, as soon as he walks away. This is analogous to our “beholding as in a mirror” concerning the more glorious ministry of the Spirit.

As we behold Christ, as in the mirror of the written or spoken word of God, should we commit to doing what we see and seek to walk it out, we will be “transformed” into what we are beholding. This does not mean we become Christ, but that His character begins to be seen through our lives. This is seen in many places in the New Testament (Matthew 5:6; II Corinthians 4:7-11, 5:17; Colossians 1:27; Galatians 2:20; 5:22).

In this beholding we see His glory and that in us which is still unchanged. In this revelation, we long for transformation, that Christ may be seen in us. This conviction must be at the foundation of our beholding, with great humility, or we may leave beholding, in carnality. This is a real danger because the transformation is to come forth in shining forth, that is more glorious than that of Moses.

In our Part III we will look to the ultimate glorious goal of the ministry of the Spirit.

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