Christian resources that are extra special because they glorify Christ

1. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.
The Spirit lead me to this book while perusing the Journal for Biblical Accuracy website (also listed as one of the special resources below).

This book was written by a man who was a devout Christian: humble, merciful, careful and persevering. If some of the light that shines through from his faith rubs off on me I will die happy. 🙂

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/962955.Matthew_Henry_s_Commentary_on_the_Whole_Bible

From the review site:
“First among the mighty (commentaries) for general usefulness we are bound to mention the man whose name is a household word, Matthew Henry. He is the most pious and pithy, sound and sensible, suggestive and sober, terse and trustworthy . . . he is deeply spiritual, heavenly, profitable; finding good matter in every text, and from all deducting the most practical and judicious lessons . . . It is the Christian’s companion, suitable to everybody, instructive to all.”
” Charles H. Spurgeon

2. The Journal of Biblical Accuracy website
http://www.jba.gr/

3. My Lord is Jesus wordpress blog
http://mylordisjesus.wordpress.com/

John Dulleck is the author. His About page reads as below:

I have been a follower of Jesus Christ since 1980. With the grace of God, I do my best to make Him the center of my life in all things. Twenty six years ago I married my wife, a woman who could only be a gift from my Father in heaven. She is the best companion a man could wish for, and the first focus of my ministry in Christ.

The Lord has blessed us in so many ways, but first and foremost, He has blessed us with our salvation, the forgiveness of our sins, and eternal life with Him. Having received such a precious gift, one purchased with the blood of Jesus, God made flesh, how can I do less than my utmost to share God’s most precious gift with others who are in desperate need of the same?

4. I am Jesus Christ, My Works Are With Out End and My Words Will Never Cease Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/GodVine4HappyLife

Inspiring messages from this site:

Tolerance is to love people for who they are no matter what they stand for, it is not condoning their actions but it is also not casting stones at them when we ourselves are not with out sin, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself and pray for your enemies, by this shall men know that you are my disciples.

Being a disciple of Christ: It doesn’t come to any person naturally, anyone can be selfish, unloyal, lazy, dishonest, sinful and hurtful with out exhorting much effort at all, but to have Charity, to be patient, kind, to cherish, love and serve his brother takes sacrifice of ones natural self to rise above the flesh, as this process takes place we become true disciples of Jesus Christ and the Light of Christ increases in each of us.

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Do not love the world

I have included this article because it helps people differentiate themselves from being lukewarm in faith (one of the rebuked Laodiceans in the book of Revelation) to zealous. After all, the Lord Jesus Himself was described as having a zealous nature (“the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up” – Psalm 69:9 & John 2:17) and he was the perfect God/Man. Hence whatever was appropriate for the Lord to exhibit behaviour-wise must be even more necessary for us, his merely human (though Holy Spirit inspired) disciples. We cannot be lukewarm and have hearts on fire for the Lord and His great commission. He wants to be first in our lives, and in our hearts, or nothing.

The article below explores this theme for us, how to avoid loving the world and hence falling away from our first love in Christ. It is taken from the ever-honest and faithful Journal of Bible Accuracy website: http://www.jba.gr/Articles/nkjv_jbamayjune00a.htm

God’s Word gives this commandment in I John 2:15-17. There we read:

I John 2:15-17
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world -the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

According to this passage: “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father IS NOT in him”. In other words: the love of the world eliminates the love of the Father. It is impossible for both of them to co-exist. I would like today to have a look at some things pertaining to this subject, starting from the book of Judges.

1. Judges 1-2
In Judges 1-2 Israel, the people of God, had finally arrived in the promised land and were ready to take it. However, God’s command was not only to take it but also to remove from it all the nations that pre-occupied it. As we read in Deuteronomy 7:16

Deuteronomy 7:16
“And you shall destroy all the peoples whom the LORD your God delivers over to you; your eye shall have no pity on them; nor shall you serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you.

Also Deuteronomy 7:2-6

“and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the LORD will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly. But thus you shall deal with them: you shall destroy their altars, and break down their sacredpillars, and cut down their wooden images, and burn their carved images with fire. For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.”

The Lord had chosen Israel to be HIS PEOPLE. His people therefore should have no mix with the Gentiles. The Lord didn’t want a mixed people, with half a foot in Him and half in the world. In contrast, He wanted His people to be TOTALLY given to Him, knowing that any mixture with the nations would turn them away from Him.

Despite the clearness of the Lord’s command, Israel denied to follow it. Judges 1:27-33 tells us:

Judges 1:27-33
“Neither did Manasseh drive out the inhabitants of Bethshean and her towns, nor Taanach and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Ibleam and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns: but the Canaanites would dwell in that land……..Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites……Neither did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron……Neither did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Accho,……Neither did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Bethshemesh, nor the inhabitants of Bethanath;”

Then in chapter 2 we read:

Judges 2:1-3
“Then the angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: “I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, “I will never break My covenant with you. And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.” But you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this? Therefore I also said, “I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.”

Instead of separating from the Gentiles, Israel mixed with them and denied to drive them away. Probably, they might have reasons. They might think that what God had said was ……. too much. That, at the end, they could manage to serve God, having the Gentiles living in their midst. It is not difficult to find excuses to compromise the Word of God. There are many excuses that one can find to justify a place for the world in him. However, the truth was that God had spoken. He had spoken, commanding His people to be separated from the Gentiles. As He has also spoken to us, His people, commanding us not to be yoked together with the unbelievers:

II Corinthians 6:14-18
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty”

God has spoken. He wants His people a holy people, without any mixture with the world and its practices. He didn’t want Israel to mix with the Gentiles, for He knew that any such mixture would bring them far from Him and near to the Gentiles, which is what finally happened:

Judges 2:11-13
“And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.”

The mixture of the people of God with the Gentiles will always bring loss. The love of the world kills the love of the Father, and the yoking together with the Gentiles leads to the forsaking of the Lord and the worshipping of the gods the Gentiles worship. The love for the Lord freezes, when His children start looking at the world, at “the nations round about them”. When they permit “the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things” (Mark 4:19) to enter their hearts and turn them away from the Lord, as the Gentiles turned the Israelites away when the latter permitted them to be their land-mates.

2. James 4:4 and other passages
The fact that the love of God and the love of the world are things entirely incompatible to each other, is also confirmed by other passages of the Scripture that put the one against the other. Such a passage is also James 4:4. There we read:

James 4:4
“Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

The adulterer is one who is in a marriage relationship, and yet seeks relationships outside of it. This makes him adulterer. Similarly, adulterer in James 4 is the one that though in a covenant with God, though engaged with the Lord Jesus Christ (II Corinthians 11:2), he is also after other covenants and namely covenants with the world. This makes him adulterer. In other words, it is adultery to have a relationship with the Lord and simultaneously to seek a friendship with the world. Friendship both with the world and with God is NOT POSSIBLE. In the heart of a man of God only God should dwell, and He does not accept roommates there. As Luke 10:27 characteristically says:

Luke 10:27
“So he answered and said, “You shall love the Lord your God WITH ALL your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind”

And Matthew 6:24
“No one can SERVE TWO MASTERS; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

It is impossible to serve two masters. It is impossible to have our eyes fixed both to God and to the world. For:

Matthew 6:21
“where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

It is not possible to have our hearts in heaven when our treasure is in the things of the earth. We cannot walk the way of God, having our eyes fixed on the things of the world. To walk the way of the Lord we need the respective vision and Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us how it is called:

Hebrews 12:1-2
“let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 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.”

Also Colossians 3:1-2
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”

The things we should set our minds on are the THINGS ABOVE. The Christian vision is the LORD JESUS CHRIST. All the others, though they may seem logical and good, are wrong visions leading to wrong ways. As Jesus said in Matthew 16:24-25:

Matthew 16:24-25
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

The way of Jesus Christ, the right way, is not the way of self but its exact opposite: the way of self’s denial. The one that wants to follow him, should no longer seek his own will but the will of the one that died for him. As II Corinthians 5:14-15 tells us:

II Corinthians 5:14-15
“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if one died for all, then all died; and he died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”

Jesus Christ died that we should no longer live for ourselves but for HIM who died for us. “Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and its desires”, Galatians 5:24 says. We will either follow Christ or the flesh. We will either serve God or the world. We will either be yoked together with the unbelievers or with God. There are no intermediate states acceptable. The way of God is contrary to the way of the world and we cannot be walking in both.

Tassos Kioulachoglou

Chosen by God: a look at the doctrine of pre-destination in the light of God’s Word

This helpful and encouraging article was taken from the “Journal of Biblical Accuracy” website: http://www.jba.gr/chosen-by-God.htm

The question of predestination vs. free will is a long standing one in the body of Christ. There are many that say that God has already chosen those that would be saved and it is those and nobody else that will be saved. Subsequently and according to this view whether somebody will be saved or not it is not so much a question of somebody else speaking the Word to him and him subsequently believing this Word. Though he definitely needs to do this, he can essentially do it only because God has “predestined” him for this, has “chosen” him. Had God not “predestined” him, had God not “chosen” him – in the meaning of chosen him over somebody else that was not chosen – then he would not be saved. It is thus ultimately up to God who is going to be saved and whom He, as per this view, has “predestined”, pre-choose to be saved. Those that God has chosen to save will be saved but those whom He has not chosen (which actually then means: those He has rejected for salvation) will not be saved. This is definitely a very convenient doctrine as it shifts the responsibility of salvation to God, meaning that He, as per this view”, has already chosen those that will be saved. So if you don’t feel like speaking the Word to others … not much of a problem. God knew it, and did not arrange for somebody that was to be saved to come your way. After all whoever is to be saved will be saved no matter what… it is all up to God. It is my personal opinion that as much as convenient this doctrine may be, it is also a very wrong and dangerous doctrine. I also believe that it is this doctrine that is responsible, at least partially, for the passivity of many people concerning speaking the Word: people do not really feel responsible for speaking the gospel as ultimately, and according to this view, whoever is to be saved will be saved. I strongly disagree with this position. I believe that according to the Bible, God gave His Son for ALL men, which then means His choice for salvation is: everybody. In turn this means that the view that God chose to save some, over some others cannot be correct.

Salvation: God’s choice for everybody.

To see what is the desire of God concerning salvation let’s start with I Timothy 2:4. There we read:

1 Timothy 2:4
“God our Savior .. who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

Whom does God want to be saved? What is His will about salvation? What is that that He wants, desires? As the passage tells us, He desires, wills all men to be saved! “All men” means ALL. He did not choose some people over some others and then gave His Son for them only. Instead He gave His Son for all people, for everybody on the face of this earth and He desires that everybody on the face of this earth is saved! This is His declared will, desire, want, choice. Here is what verses 5 and 6 of the same epistle tell us:

1 Timothy 2:5-6
“For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom FOR ALL, to be testified in due time.”

For how many did Jesus Christ gave himself as a ransom? Not for some but for ALL, brother and sister. Jesus Christ paid the price for everybody and He did it with the purpose that everybody can taste salvation. If He then did this, wouldn’t be entirely contradictory to say that God has actually chosen only some of these all for whom He gave His Son, which then essentially means that He did not choose (i.e. therefore rejected) the remaining? Imagine that you went to a prison and you loved all the prisoners so much that you paid the highest possible price – for God that price was His Son – to make them free. How many would you want to see free? I guess ALL. Now imagine that some chose to stay in the prison. What would you feel? Wouldn’t you be very sorrowful and sad about this? You paid the highest price for them! You want them out! I would be very sad if they choose to stay in and so I believe is God. He gave His Son, He paid the highest possible price for everybody and guess what: He wants everybody to take advantage of what He made available. He wants everybody to be free “from the power of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:13).

Here is what the famous John 3:16 passage, which is so frequently being quoted, tells us:

John 3:16-18
“For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that THE WORLD through him might be saved. He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

God loved the WORLD (using our example with the prisoners: He loved ALL the prisoners, not just some) and for the whole world, for EVERYBODY, He gave His Son. Why? “SO THAT THE WORLD THROUGH HIM MIGHT BE SAVED.” When God gave His Son He was not targeting at just a part of the world but at the whole world! He did not want to free some prisoners but ALL the prisoners. Salvation is God’s choice for everybody, because it was for everybody that He paid the respective price. There is no man on the face of the earth for whom God has made a choice that he is lost.

What does the Word mean when it speaks about chosen ones?

To be chosen means that somebody chose you i.e. you are his choice. As we read in the past pages it is the declared will of God that all men be saved and for this purpose God paid with the life of His Son. Now if God wants all men to be saved, this means that it is God’s choice for all men to be saved. In turn, if this is God’s choice, God’s will for everybody what then does this make everybody in regards to salvation? CHOSEN. In other words when the Word of God refers to us as elect and chosen, in no way it means chosen in relation to some others that allegedly are not chosen. ALL are chosen for salvation, as this is the choice, what God wills, for every man (though obviously not all will take up His offer). Instead what the Word means by calling us chosen is chosen for salvation. Salvation is God’s choice, His will, for every man and therefore, in regards to salvation, all men are chosen by Him. However not all will accept this offer and the result is that they will be lost. But they are not lost because God did not choose them for salvation but because they chose to reject what was God’s choice for them. In the same way, we too we were not saved because God chose us over some others that were allegedly not chosen. Instead we were saved because we chose to accept what was the choice of God for us and every man. Salvation is a question of believing. It is a question of people choosing God and not a question of God choosing them. As far as God is concerned, there is no question: He chose ALL men for salvation and to this end He gave His Son. See again these passages from the Scripture:

Acts 10:43
“whoever believes in him shall receive remission of sins.”

Romans 9:33, 10:11
“whoever believes on him shall not be ashamed.“

I John 5:1
“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.”

John 11:26
“whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.”

John 3:16
“whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

John 12:46-48
“whoever believes on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and does not believe, I do not judge him: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”

See all these “whoever” in these passages. WHOEVER, regardless of who he is – that’s what “whoever” means – is going to be saved or not to be saved based on whether he believed or not. If he will believe he will get saved, as it is God’s choice, God’s will for him. But if he chooses not to believe then he will not be saved. This in no way is God’s choice, God’s will for him, but it will happen based on the choice this man made. It is as simple as that.

To summarize: there are two kind of choosing. One kind of choosing refers to choosing one person over another person. In other words: I chose you instead of another person. In that sense, and according to the doctrine of election, God chose us and rejected others. He predestined for salvation us, the Christians, but not the others. The others were not chosen, according to this view. Can this view be correct? No, because, as per the other passages of the Scripture that we read, God desires, it is His choice, that everybody gets saved and for exactly that purpose i.e. the salvation of everybody He gave His Son. Therefore the choosing and predestination that are mentioned in Ephesians 1:3-7 – “he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself..” – do not have the meaning of us being chosen over some others that are allegedly not chosen, but of us being chosen for salvation. The same choice – salvation – God made for everybody else too, when He gave His Son. Like the prisoners of our example: everybody was chosen to experience freedom. Am I justified therefore to speak to those ex-prisoners that took up my offer and say “you are chosen for freedom”, “I have predestined you for this” “You are my choice”? Yes I am absolutely justified to do this. However, given that this is also my choice for those that are still in the prison, when I say “chosen” I by no means mean that these are chosen over the others that rejected my offer. For them also it is my choice that they are free. God indeed has chosen us but He has not chosen us OVER some others. God does not pick and choose those that would be saved. If He would do this He would be a respecter of persons and He is NOT:

Acts 10:34
“God is not a respecter of persons.”

Instead God will be found by everybody that seeks Him. In fact, He is searching for people that seek Him so that He reveals Himself to them:

Psalms 14:2
“The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God.”

and Deuteronomy 4:29
“If .. you shall seek the LORD your God, you shall find him, if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

When somebody seeks God, when he invites Him to reveal Himself to him and he real means it, God will, 100%, show up. He is the one that will draw him to Him. But this is not what God will do only for that person. It is instead something that He does for all that call on Him. God looks for people that seek Him and those that seek Him with all their heart will find Him. This is not something that happens sometimes for some people. Instead it is a LAW, dictated by God’s Word. When somebody invites God from his heart, God will 100% show up and draw him to Himself. It is in this sense that we need to understand the record of the gospel of John that says:

John 6:44
“No one come to me unless the Father that send me draws him.”

Many people take this passage and say “you see, it is all up to God. If God wants, He will draw that person to Him. If He does not want him, He will not draw him”. To interpret this passage in such a way makes God a respecter of persons and ignores that Jesus died for ALL, so that ALL might be saved. God does not pick and choose who to draw to Himself. Instead He will show up for everybody that seeks Him. It is a spiritual law that He dictated it. On that we will also say more in the next section.

Salvation: God’s responsibilities and our responsibilities.

God indeed has a role to play in salvation, the most important role. But we have our own responsibilities and God given roles too. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 is very clear about our role in the reconciliation of men to God. As we read there:

“And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given TO US the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then WE are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray in Christ’s stead, be you reconciled to God. For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

By giving His Son, God reconciled the world to himself. In other words the door to God is now open. Using again the example with the prisoners, the doors of the prison are all open! But the prisoners are blind. They cannot see it. They are blinded by the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4), the devil, so that they do not see the salvation that is available for them. Thus somebody needs to tell the people: “The door to God is now open! Please be reconciled to God. Because he has made sin for us the one who knew no sin so that we will be made the righteousness of God in Him!” This, the telling, the introduction of the people to the Lord, is the ministry of reconciliation. And who has this ministry? The answer is very simple: WE. It is our responsibility to tell the people. It is us that are ambassadors for Christ. If you want something from a foreign country you have to call the embassy of that country, the representatives, the “ambassadors” of that country. For God the ambassadors are US. God opened the doors of the prison, He opened the door to Him. He reconciled the world to Himself by giving His Son. Now we, the once prisoners, the once blinded, we need to say to those that are still prisoners and still blinded “come to God, the door is open!”

More clarity on responsibilities is given in 1 Corinthians 3:5-6. As we read there:

“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”

See the turn. God has a role, the most important role to play. The role of giving the increase. But somebody has to throw the seed and somebody has to water. And this somebody is not God. It is us! It is the ministers, and this does not mean the clergy, but us, who have the ministry of reconciliation. The text does not say: “God planted, God watered, God gave the increase” There were people involved that had to do what God had called them to do. People that said “here is God, reconcile to Him” and as that person approached God, God met Him, drew him to Himself. There were also people, like Apollos, that watered the seed sown in the hearts of the people, opening the Word of God and sharing its truths with them. See also this “through whom” that I have marked in bold letters (“through whom you believed”). The means through whom these people believed were Paul and Apollos. They played their God given role – the role of the intermediate, the minister of reconciliation, the ambassador for Christ, the role of planting and watering. But imagine we say “here is God” and God does not show up. Then would that person meet Him? As much as he might want it, he would not meet Him. But God does do the drawing, does show up, does do His role. When therefore John says that nobody will come to the Father if the Father does not draw him to Himself it is absolutely true: if God does not show up, if God does not give the increase, you and I can plant and water as much as we want but nothing will happen. But God does show up, does do the drawing, does give the increase. The question is will we do our role, the ministry of reconciliation that is committed unto us, the planting and the watering, the “go into ALL the world and preach the gospel to EVERY creature” (Mark 16:15)? These are not acts of God but roles committed to us.

Conclusion.

To sum it up dear brother: the doctrine that God has chosen some people to save over some others that He allegedly has not chosen is a very convenient but also very false doctrine. God’s choice, will, is that everybody gets saved and comes to the knowledge of the truth. If this is God’s choice for everybody what is then everybody? Chosen! Now whether he will really get saved or not depends on whether he will believe. If he will believe he will be saved. However, if he will not believe, he will not be saved. Does God have a role to play in this? Yes, the most important one: After a person invites God in his heart to reveal Himself to him, God will show up and draw him to Himself. This is the drawing of the Father Jesus is speaking about. Whoever had God revealed to him knows what I’m speaking about. This revelation of God is not something that He decides precariously to do, but something that He is obliged to do and will do based on His Word. Whoever seeks Him from His heart will find Him says the Word. God will show up, 100%, when somebody really seeks Him.

Now turning to us, God has given to US the ministry of reconciliation, the ministry of sowing the Word and watering. He does the increase (the drawing to Him) but the sowing and watering, the introduction of the people to the Lord, the ministry of reconciliation is given to us. The doctrine according to which God has chosen only certain human beings for salvation, which then implies that He has chosen some others for sending them to hell is a very false doctrine and has put people into sleep as they believe God will save whoever He wants. This is not true. We have responsibilities brothers and sisters and speaking the Word, looking for opportunities to spread the Gospel, is something that is on us to do. Speak the Word, tell the prisoners “get out of the prison”. Whether they will get out or not it is their responsibility. But it is our responsibility to tell them. It is our responsibility to show them the Father. As far as the Father is concerned, He wants them with all His heart! He paid for them the same price He paid for us and He waits for them with the same open arms He waited for us.

Anastasios Kioulachoglou

What does the Word of God teach about grace vs works?

My notes based on the Word of God (please kindly compare back to your own prayerful readings of the Word):

God offers eternal life as a free gift, but only through faith in His Son Jesus, who bore our sins for us and who alone is perfectly righteous in the Father’s eyes. We can stand on Judgement Day only due to this faith in the Lord Jesus’ work for us on the Cross:

Isaiah 53:5
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, the Father’s “lamb of God”:

John 1:29
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

God provided for Himself a perfect, holy Lamb to take away our sins, similar to how He provided Abraham with a ram so Abraham didn’t have to sacrifice his own son Isaac in the Old Testament.

The following text is taken from “The Journal of Bible Accuracy” website, http://www.jba.gr/Grace-and-works.htm. I’ve included it here because it helped open the eyes of my understanding to how grace relates to works in salvation of someone’s soul. I was previously a little confused about this:

The word “grace” used in Bible is a translation of the Greek word “charis” . “Charis” means “free undeserved favor”. In the Bible, it means “God’s unmerited favor”. It is very important to have a correct understanding of the word “grace” as all too often people confuse grace with works. However, grace and works are entirely different things. Romans 4:4 tells us:

“Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.”

In this passage the word “gift” is the word “charis” in the Greek text, which as we have learned means grace. What this passage tells us is that when someone works for something, that which he receives back is a reward for his work. This reward therefore is not given to him by grace, as a gift, because he worked for it, and thus he deserves it. In the same way, when the Word of God says that something has been given to us by grace it means that it has been given to us as a gift, as something for which we didn’t qualify and for which we didn’t work. It is clear therefore that something either will be earned by works or will be given by grace. It cannot be both by works and by grace at the same time. Difficulties in understanding and accepting this fact have caused many Christians, instead of enjoying what they already have by grace and then utilize it to build their fellowship with God, to try to achieve by works what they already have.

Another passage which shows clearly that grace and works are entirely different things is Romans 11:6. There we read:

“And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were [i.e. by works], grace would no longer be grace.”

Once again, this passage explains to us what we have already seen: if something is gained by works then it could not be by grace since otherwise “grace would no longer be grace”!!! How clear and pure is the Word of God. Many of us when we go to the Word of God, we think that what we read has to mean something different than what is said! We need to understand that the Word of God means what it says and says what it means. It is our refusal to accept the Word of God that has produced all these strange ideas that gift means wage and grace means works. We go to the Word of God with the preconceived idea that we must do something to achieve a right position before God and when we see that the Word of God says that this right position has been granted to us by grace, through the accomplishments of the Lord Jesus Christ, on the condition of our faith, then we worry what is wrong with the Word. Rather, we should and must ask what is wrong with our preconceived ideas. When you go to the Word of God you must leave out any preconceived ideas you may have about it. You must go with the intention to fit your ideas to the Bible and not the Bible to your preconceived ideas. With regard to the topic of salvation and righteousness, and seeing the confusion that abounds about it, it is no wonder that God paid such special attention to tell us that when He says grace He means grace and not works!

Now does this mean that God does not want us to do good works? Of course not! In fact He has created us for good works and He has already prepared them for us (Ephesians 2:10). However, what I want to point out here is that we start as righteous and saved, and as we grow in our fellowship with the Lord, the works come as the fruit of that fellowship. These are not works that we have predetermined to do for God but works that “GOD has prepared” (Ephesians 2:10) for us. It is important to understand how you start. If you start doing good works in order to achieve a good position before God then you have missed the point. You will always end up with condemnation because you are trying to achieve righteousness by works, which is impossible. However, if you know that, because of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ and your faith in Him, you start as righteous and saved and that all these were granted to you as gifts (by grace), when you believed, then you can go ahead and do the works that God has prepared for you. These works are then not the means of your relationship with God but the fruit of that relationship. And God does want us to bring forth much fruit for Him. As the Lord said in John 15:8:

“Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be my disciples.”

Ephesians 2:8-10 summarizes the relationship of grace and works very well:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Though we are not saved by works, we are created in Christ Jesus for good works, that God has prepared for us to walk in them. To say it differently, though works do not precede our salvation, they should definitely follow it! We, as professing Christians, are indeed expected to live and walk as Christians, doing what the Word of God says and walking in the good works that God has prepared for us.

To conclude therefore: salvation is by grace through faith. It is not of works! On the other hand the fact that we once believed is not the end. We should move ahead and seek to find and do what God has prepared for us, bringing forth fruit for our Lord. As He said “every tree is known by each own fruit” (Luke 6:44). James goes even further saying “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). The fruit of our life proves therefore whether our faith is a true living faith or a dead faith (just a confession made sometime, somewhere). To say it differently: are you saved? If yes, then walk as saved! Ephesians 5:8, 10-11 encourages us:

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light …. finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.”

Tassos Kioulachoglou

What does the Word of God teach about spirit, soul and body?

What does the Word of God teach about spirit, soul and body? The first reference we have to Spirit is Genesis 1:2 and it is God’s act of creative will in making our world:

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

The second refers to moral will, again in the context of God’s Spirit striving for a particular end (Genesis 6:3):

And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

And the Lord Jesus has told us the following:

John 4:24
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

So how are we to worship God in our spirit if we are unclear on what this means? It is our solemn duty then to find out, by detailed examination of God’s revealed Word, what the terms body, soul and spirit really mean.

Now some beautiful passages from the Journal of Bible Accuracy, which describes how body, soul and spirit of man differ (see http://www.jba.gr/Articles/nkjv_jbamay96.htm):

I have included this article because it leaves God’s Word to interpret itself. It doesn’t look to man’s ideas or traditions but simply lets what God’s Spirit wrote speak for itself. Here is the text:

Is man just body and soul or is he body, soul and spirit? This I believe is one of the most fundamental questions that somebody needs to have correctly answered. I consider the subject of body, soul and spirit as one of the most important subjects dealt within this magazine. Therefore I would like to ask you to please pay close attention as we go through the Word to find the answer not only to the matter of body soul and spirit but also to some other equally important questions related to it.

1. Body, soul, spirit: what died in the day Adam and Eve sinned?

To start approaching the topic of body soul and spirit we need to go to the first book of the Bible, the Genesis. There, after God made man, He imposed a restriction on him, making also clear the penalty, for the case that this restriction was violated:

Genesis 2:16-17
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die”.

The restriction that God imposed on Adam was that he should not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The penalty for the case that this restriction was violated was that: “in the day [pay attention: that very day] that you eat of it you shall surely die”. Two very significant things have to be noted in that penalty. The first is that if Adam ate from the tree death would happen immediately, in that very day. The second is that this would happen surely. The phrase “you shall SURELY die” has exactly the purpose to put emphasis on the fact that death would happen 100%, surely, in that day.

Now from Genesis 3:1-6 we all know how Satan deceived Adam and Eve to violate the only restriction God had imposed on them, and eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. After eating from that tree and according to what God had told them in Genesis 2:17, they should have died at that moment. The problem here is that Genesis 5:5-6 says about Adam:

“After he [Adam] begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years; and he had sons and daughters. So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died.”

Therefore, according to the Bible, Adam continued to have life in his body for many years after he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. On the other hand, God had said that if he would eat from that tree he would surely, 100%, die, in that same day. So what really happen in the day that Adam and Eve ate from that tree. Did they die as God said, or they didn’t die? Who will solve us this “problem”? Man’s ideas, theories, religion and tradition? No! Only one can give us answers, and this is no other than the Word of God. And if you want this Word to give you answers, you have to leave it to speak for itself (self interpretation).

In our case, since God cannot lie (Numbers 23:19) in the day that Adam and Eve ate from that tree they really died. Actually, it was the Devil that said, when he deceived Eve, “you shall not surely die”. Thus, if they didn’t die that day, as God said, then Satan was right and God was wrong, which is simply impossible. However, that’s exactly what many teach today when they say “actually when God said that they would surely die He meant that just the sperm of death would be planted”. The Word of God does not need such kind of defense. Actually it does not need any defense at all for it is truth and truth can stand by itself. Returning to our topic: SINCE GOD SAID THAT THEY WOULD SURELY DIE THAT VERY DAY, THEY INDEED DIED THAT DAY. However, since they continued to have life in their bodies even after they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, it is self-evident that they must have had another form of life, in addition to the life of their bodies, that was lost in the day that they ate and for this reason it was death (absence of a form of life). So, we have to search the Scriptures to see how man was created and what were the parts of his being. Knowledge of what composed the life of the first man will also enable us to see what was lost in that day.

2. Body, soul and spirit: the body and soul parts.

Starting our research on how the first man was created, let’s go to Genesis 2:7. There it says:

“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground……..”

Which part of man did God form of the dust of the ground? His body. That’s why the elements of the human body can be found in the ground. So one part of the first human being was the body. But let’s continue:

Genesis 2:7
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul [soul = nephesh in Hebrew]”

We saw that God formed man’s body of the dust of the ground. However, this body didn’t have life. It was just formed, without life. Then, the Word of God tells us that God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul”. Therefore, what is soul? Soul is what gives life to the body. The fact that people do not understand the simple truths of the Word of God described at that point has caused no end of confusion. Here the Word of God tells us that soul is what gives life to the body. Without soul the body is dead. Where is the soul, the life of the body, the life of the flesh? The Word of God again is very precise:

Leviticus 17:11, 13-14
“For the life [nephesh in Hebrew] of the flesh is in the blood…..Whatever man of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who hunts and catches any animal or bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood, and cover it with dust; For it [i.e. the blood] is the life [nephesh] of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life [nephesh] of it: therefore I said to the children of Israel “You shall not eat the blood of any flesh: for the life [nephesh] of all flesh is its blood”

We saw in Genesis 2:7 that soul (nephesh in Hebrew) is what gives life to the body. Here in Leviticus we see that “the life of the flesh is in the blood”. In the above passage the word “life” is a translation of the Hebrew word “nephesh” that is translated as “soul” in Genesis 2:7 as well as in 471 out of the 753 of the places where it occurs. Therefore, what is “nephesh” or soul? According to Genesis 2:7 soul is what gives life to the body. Where is the “nephesh”, the life of the body, the soul? According to Leviticus 17:11-14 it is in the blood: “For the life (nephesh, soul) of the flesh is in the blood”. How this soul life passes from generation to generation? Through the blood. That’s why Acts 17:26 says:

“And He has made from ONE BLOOD every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth”.

The “one blood” of this passage is the blood of Adam which passes from generation to generation and actually is the blood that all of us have.

Actually, soul is not something that only man has. Animals have also soul which again is in the blood. Although this is immediately understood from the above passage of Leviticus, where we are told that the life of all flesh is in the blood let’s go to Genesis 1:20-21, 29-30 to see it there as well:

Genesis 1:20-21
“And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature [nephesh, soul] that has life [nephesh, soul] and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature [nephesh, soul] that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good”

Genesis 1:29-30
“And God said “Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yield seed; to you it shall be for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps upon the earth, wherein there is a living soul [nephesh in Hebrew] I have given every green herb for meat:” and it was so.”

Therefore, not only man but also the animals have “nephesh” i.e. “soul”. This is not strange at all, if we understand that soul is what gives life to the body. When you die there is no more life, no more soul. The same happens with the animals. Soul is for them the same that is for man i.e. what gives life to the body. Although, there is no problem about what is defined as soul in the Bible, the problem is created when we go to the Bible with the preconceived idea that soul is immortal. If soul was immortal, then really the souls of the various animals would also be immortal, since they have “nephesh” as man has “nephesh”. Soul is not something immortal. It just gives life to the body. When you stop having life in your body, you have no more soul.

By now, we have seen that the Bible teaches that God formed the body of man of the dust of the ground, and that He gave to that body life i.e. soul. The same is also true for the animals. They also have body and soul. Every man in the world, believer or unbeliever, has body and soul. It can therefore be concluded that since Adam died 930 years old, when he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he obviously lost neither his body nor his soul. Thus, since something had to die for Adam that day, he must originally have had at least one more part, which was lost, died, when he ate. So, let’s continue searching the Scriptures to see what they say about that.

3. Body, soul and spirit: the spirit part.
To continue our enquiry let’s go to Genesis 1:26-27. There it says:

Genesis 1:26-27
“Then God said “let us make man in our image, according to our likeness…. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them”

According to this passage, God created man “in His own image”. Here is a very critical point, a key point, if we want to understand not only what happened in the day that Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but also other passages of the Bible that are affected by what is said here. Reading the above passage, the question that has to be asked is what is the image of God? What does He look like? John 4:24 tells us:

“God is Spirit”

God is not flesh but Spirit. That is His image. Therefore, when the Word of God tells us that God created man according to His image, it means that in addition to body and soul man also had that which is the image of God i.e. spirit. In order to understand better the usage of the phrase “in his image” in the above critical passage, let’s see another place where this phrase occurs.

Genesis 5:1-3
“This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, In the likeness of God made He him; Male and female created He them ; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth”

This passage says that Adam begat a son “in his own likeness, after his image”. What does it mean? It means that as Adam was, so his son was i.e. as Adam had hands so Seth had hands. As Adam had feet so Seth had feet etc. As Adam was body and soul so Seth was body and soul. Similarly, when the Word says that God created man “in his image”, “in the likeness of God”, what it means is that as God is, so Adam was. God is not flesh. He does not have feet, hands, head. He is spirit. So as God is spirit so Adam had spirit. One could ask, why did God make Adam apart from body and soul, spirit as well? The simple reason is that without spirit Adam could not communicate with God Who is spirit. God being spirit, cannot communicate with the body and soul. They are different things. You see, you cannot receive the messages of a radio station unless you have a radio receiver. You may have a washing machine. But the fact that you have a washing machine does not make it possible for you to receive the messages of the radio station. You need a radio receiver. Similarly, God is spirit and to communicate with Him you must have spirit. Body and soul are enough for things of the five senses. But when it comes to the things of God, what you need is spirit. This truth is also explained in I Corinthians 2:14:

“But the natural [psuchikos in the Greek] man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him: nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

In this passage, the word translated “natural” is the Greek adjective “psuchikos”, which comes from the noun “psuchi” which means soul. So, psuchikos means “a soul man” i.e. a man with body and soul only1. According to that passage a man who is only body and soul “does not receive the things of the Spirit of God”. As it was said above to receive “the things of the spirit of God”, to communicate with God you need the appropriate receiver i.e. spirit. That’s why the passage says: “nor can he (the man of body and soul) know them because they are spiritually discerned”. The man of body and soul is impossible to know the things of God for the simple reason that such things have to do with the spirit, “they are spiritually discerned”, and since he lacks spirit he cannot know them.

Summarizing all the above, Adam had body, formed from the dust of the ground, soul that gives life to the body and spirit to communicate with God. He was body, soul and spirit. Having established that, there is no question about what happened in the day that Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God had told them that in the day that they would eat from it, they would surely die. Bearing in mind that death means the absence of a form of life, we can now see what died that day. Adam was body, soul and spirit and his body died many years after the day that he ate. Now since without soul a body has no life, Adam had body and soul even after he ate from that tree. On the other hand, since God is always right in what He says, something had to die that day. Since Adam was body, soul and spirit before he ate and since, as we saw, he continued to have body and soul after he ate what was lost for him that day, was the spirit that God gave him. He continued to have body and soul but he didn’t have spirit. The spirit departed from him and this was death for him since spirit, a form of life that he had before he ate, was no more there.

You see, how clearly the Bible settles the things when you leave it to interpret itself. It was actually this loss of the spirit that was restored in the day of Pentecost where holy spirit was made available, so that today after believing in Jesus Christ you are again body, soul and spirit. That’s why then Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 says:

“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.”

We now, after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and His resurrection and receiving the gift of the holy spirit, we are no longer just body and soul but body, soul and spirit.

Tassos Kioulachoglou

Other relevant articles: “Pentecost and New birth realities”
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1. The same word, phuchicos (soul man, a man of body and soul) is also used in I Corinthians 15:44, 46, James 3:15 and Jude 19.