The church, the spiritual body of Jesus Christ has been urged by the apostle Paul saying, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1Corinthians 1:10).
Therefore, to everyone who profess to be a member of the body of Christ, we should make it our aim to walk in the unity of the Spirit as admonished by the apostle Paul saying, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3)
It is the Lord`s earnest desire that all believers may be one, as stated in His prayer to the Father stating, “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me” (John 17:21-23).
Now the rationale for this call for unity, is due to the fact that, “There is one body of which we are all members, one Spirit, in whom we were all baptized, called in one hope of our calling; there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in us all.
One cannot deny the fact that the churches which supposed to be representing the body of Christ are not in one accord, they are divided and are not perfectly joined together as the Lord intended, so the main concern is how can we all fulfill the Lord`s desire to have His church perfectly joined together?
To be able to help in the process of assuring unity in the body of Christ I think that it is imperative that every member learn how to use his/her gift for the overall development of the church, because Christ Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
The reason for that is that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ —from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:11-16).
To be able to help resolve the differences that exist in the body of Christ I have come up with a formula that will help me personally deal with this issue of disunity in the body of Christ. The formula I came up with is as follows:-
1. Try to identify the root cause of the disagreement
It is almost impossible to solve a problem without knowing the root cause of it. A problem cannot be solved by dealing with the effects, neither by compromising.
2. Seek the right solution in dealing with the particular issue
The truth of the word should not be compromised in order to attain unity, instead we are to strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:12-14).
3. Learning to shod the feet with the gospel of peace
In essence that means shunning profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness, but instead pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
4. Approach the situation in humility
For it is required of a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:24-26).
Note that the forces behind the wrangling and arguments is a snare of the devil, Therefore, we have been admonished to, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”.
The irony of truth is, for though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when our obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:2-6).
5. Establish the truth
In any discussion which pertains to the believer`s way of life, the truth must be established, and the way we establish the truth is by following the procedure by which biblical knowledge can be attained which is stated as follows; ” Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts?
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little.” For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people, to whom He said, “This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest,” And, “This is the refreshing”; Yet they would not hear. But the word of the LORD was to them, “Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little” (Isaiah 28: 9-10).
Therefore, to establish the truth one should not take one verse of scripture in isolation to the rest of the scriptures and knowledge is revealed to those who are mature and partaking of solid food.
6. Uphold the laws of nature
Nature is a sure way of teaching us even the invisible things of God, for we have been admonished saying; “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20).
Therefore, if there is anything that seems hard and difficult to understand, see how the natural laws of nature deal with the particular issue.
Tag Archive for Holiness
The church, the spiritual body of Jesus Christ has been urged by the apostle Paul saying, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1Corinthians 1:10).
This second compartment of the Tabernacle is called the Holiest of All, and similarly to the first compartment, whatever occupies this compartment verifies the activities that are being conducted therein. What is of primary importance is that no one is allowed to enter this compartment without blood: This compartment is furnished with:-
a. The golden altar of incense
This is figurative to approved services of worship. Jesus Christ has already given Himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling aroma, which we are to take heed to offer to God at their appointed time. (Ephesians 5:2; Numbers 28:2).
• The incense
The incense is figurative to worship, prayer and praise; For it is written, “Let my prayer be set before you as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice” (Psalms 141:2).
With regards to prayer it is stated, “Now when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty four elders fell down before the lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”
‘Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. And he was given much incense that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand” (Revelation 5:8; Revelation 8:3-4).
And with regards to praise it is written; “For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; in every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering: for My name shall be great among the nations says the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 1:11).
b. The Ark of the Covenant overlaid on all sides with gold
This symbolizes God’s visible presence and power. As it is written; “Whenever the ark set out Moses said; “Rise up, O Lord! Let Your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate You flee before You.’ And when the ark rested he said; “Return. O Lord, to the many thousands of Israel (Numbers11:35-36).
With regards to the ark David prayed saying; “Now therefore, arise, O Lord God, to Your resting place. You and the ark of Your strength, let your priests O Lord God be clothed with salvation, and let your saints rejoice in goodness” (2Chronicles 6:41).
c. The golden pot that had the manna
This is figurative to Jesus Christ as the true bread from heaven. When asked by the crowd, “What miraculous sign then will You give that we may see it and believe You? What will You do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the dessert; as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat’ Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread from heaven: For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (John 6:30-32).
d. Aaron’s rod that budded
This is figurative to the Jesus Christ the High Priest Whom God has chosen, as Aaron was chosen. For it is testified; “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Numbers 17:1-10; Hebrews 7:17, 21).
e. Tablets of the covenant
This is descriptive of the Ten Commandments, the principles established by God by which man should live. Moses describes the righteousness which is of the law this way, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” The law is not of faith, “But the man who does them shall live by them” (Leviticus 18:5; Ezekiel 20:11; Nehemiah 9:29; Romans 10:5; Galatians 3:12).
f. Cherubim of glory:
This is figurative to the two witnesses witnessing the testimony which is placed in the ark when brought to the presence of God. As it is written, “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.” For it is by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” And it is also written in the law that the testimony of two men is true” (1Timothy 5:19; Matthew 18:16; John 8:17).
g. The Mercy Seat
This is figurative to Jesus Christ our merciful and faithful High Priest whose duty is to plead and intercede on behalf of His saints. “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” For according to the scriptures, the accuser of the brethren Satan the devil, accuses them before our God day and night (1Peter 4:17; Revelation 12:10).
Therefore, there is a huge difference between what takes place in the outer court, and what takes place in the inner court. In the inner court only the redeemed should be allowed to appear before the presence of God to worship and glorify Him, by partaking of the bread from heaven in fellowship with the Father and His Son, to answer charges levelled against them by the accuser, and to receive forgiveness and requital for charges brought against them; and to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
The inner Court is synonymous to, “coming to Mount Zion and to city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the first born, whose names are written in heaven.’ When in the inner Court, “we have come to God, the Judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel” (Hebrews 12:22-24).
According to the laws of the temple which by the way was a shadow or copy of the true Tabernacle in heaven, because remember, when Moses was about to build the Tabernacle he was divinely instructed saying; “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain” (Hebrews 8:5).
There are laws which govern those who are admitted in the Temple. The law with regard to those who should enter the new temple was disclosed to the prophet Ezekiel by the Lord saying; “Son of man, look carefully, listen closely and give attention to everything I tell you concerning all the regulations regarding the temple of the Lord. Mark well who may enter the house and all who go out from the sanctuary.’
“Now say to the rebellious, to the house of Israel, ‘thus says the Lord God: “O house of Israel let us have no more of all your abominations. When you brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to defile it – My house – and when you offered My food, the fat and the blood, then they broke my covenant because of all your abominations.’
“And you have not kept charge of My holy things, but you have set others to keep charge of My sanctuary for you. Thus says the Lord God: “No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart or uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter My sanctuary, including any foreigner who is among the children of Israel” (Ezekiel 44: 5-9).
Allowing the uncircumcised in heart, and spiritually unclean to enter the temple, not the one made with hands, but the true tabernacle in heaven, is a violation of the laws of the temple, and profanes the holy things of God. For thus says the Lord to Ezekiel concerning the leaders of Israel; “Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so I am profaned among them” (Ezekiel 22:26).
Now the principal objective for observing the Sabbaths is to offer the Lord His food for His offerings. Like the shadow of the reality we are told that, “into the second part (the inner court) the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance” (Hebrews 9:7).
Today, we can daily come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need, but not without the blood of the new covenant. As clearly stated by the apostle Paul who wrote saying; “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:19-22).
It is only when these prerequisites are in place should we “…consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Contrary to this we are told, “When you come to appear before Me, who has required this from your hand to trample My courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies – I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting: Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; they are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them.’
‘When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood” (Isaiah 1:12-15).
My prayer is that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory will give us the spirit of wisdom, and revelation in the knowledge of him, and that the eyes of our understanding may be enlightened, so that we may know how to have access to His throne of grace with confidence, in order to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need, and not spending our time only in the outer court of the tabernacle, or profaning the inner court with abominable things.
Our call of duty is not to bring or invite the world into the church, but rather to preach the gospel to the world, and those who believe and are baptized, will the Lord adds to the church. Remember that, a little leaven leavens the whole lump, and the church can only have fellowship with one another, and with the Father and Son, when we are all walking in the light, because the Father has absolutely no fellowship with darkness which is synonymous to sin and lies.
This I know may not be the popular teaching and concept of many churches, but as a nation of priests and a holy nation the main objective is to be holy and righteous in order to be in a constant fellowship with the Father.
So instead of having an earthy tabernacle made with men’s hands, we now have the true eternal Tabernacle in heaven, instead of having weak and temporary high priest, we now have the Eternal High Priest, and instead of having offerings which could not present the worshipper perfect and holy in the presence of the Most High, we now have the perfect offering which can present the worshipper perfect, holy and irreproachable in the presence of the Most High.
In performing the services of God as priests one should consider the fact that there are two compartments in the Tabernacle of meeting in which the work has to be performed, one is the outer court and the other is the inner court, and there are specific functions that are to be carried out in both courts.
1. THE OUTER COURT
This first compartment called the outer court or the sanctuary is where the priests enter regularly to carry out their ministry, and what occupied this compartment verified the activities that were being conducted therein, and they consist of:-
a. The lamp stand
This was figurative to the church as clearly illustrated in scriptures which state; “The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lamp-stands. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lamp-stands which you saw are the seven churches” (Revelation1:13, 20).
b. The Table
This is figurative to the heart, and fellowship for it is written; “Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” And, “You are manifestly an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not of tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, the heart” (Proverbs 3:3; 2Corinthians 3:3).
With regards to fellowship, it coincides with Jesus Christ’s statement when He said; “And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:30).
c. The showbread
This is figurative to Christ and the church. In relation to Christ, Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” And concerning the church the scripture states, “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (John 6:48; 1Corinthians 10:17).
The outer court demonstrates the faithfulness of Jesus Christ to His church. He never leaves them nor forsakes them. Even if we are faithless or unfaithful, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. He is ever present to empower, teach and guide them to perform their work of service.
The outer Court is where the church evangelizes, reaching out to others with the gospel, through bible study, lectures, crusades going out into the world, preaching the gospel and reaping the harvest of souls, with Christ in their midst upholding and supporting it.
But the inner court requires a compltely different service which will be discussed in the next article.
From the inception of humanity beginning with Abel, offering the Lord His offering, His sweet smelling aroma is the source of man’s righteousness. Immediately following the scripture which teaches that practicing righteousness differentiates the children of God from the children of the devil, we read the following instructions; “For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning that we should love one another, and not be like Cain who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brothers righteous”(1 John 3:11-12).
So the question is, why did God regard Abel’s offering, and disregard the offering made by Cain? And, not only did He highly regard Abel’s Offering, but He also commended Abel as being a righteous man.
So how did Abel attain righteousness? This is what we learn from the scriptures; “In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the first fruit of the ground, and Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord has regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard” (Genesis 4: 3-5).
We are further told that, “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, by faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings” (Hebrews 11:4).
Therefore, the reason why Abel’s offering was accepted, and Cain’s not accepted it was because, Abel offered to the Lord the sacrifice, the sweet aroma which satisfies His will, one which depicted the best he could offer for his redemption. For the word of the Lord says clearly, “The life of all flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for ones life” (Leviticus 17:11).
The priests were instructed by the Lord saying, “You must not redeem the first born of an ox, a sheep or a goat; they are holy. Sprinkle their blood on the altar and burn their fat as an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.” Again the Lord said to them; “The priests shall burn them (the fat) on the altar as food, and offering made by fire, a pleasing aroma. All the fat is the Lord’s. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. You must not eat any fat or any blood” (Numbers 18:17; Leviticus 3:16-17).
The sprinkling of blood and the burning of the fat of clean animals which were offered by Abel, and also the Levitical priesthood, were a type which foreshadowed the real sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which is the best, the sweet aroma, and only sacrifice that fulfills the Father’s will in presenting the worshiper holy and blameless before Him.
It is this secret mystery that was hidden for ages in God who created all things; and that through the church, His manifold wisdom might now be made known to the principalities and powers (Satan and his demons) in the heavenly places.
This secret mystery is in accordance to the eternal purpose which God has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we now have boldness and confidence of access through our faith in Him. Therefore, the practical righteous which one should seek first and which distinguishes the children of God from the children of the devil is faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ which is proclaimed and demonstrated by partaking of the bread and wine. As it is written; “For as often as you eats this bread, and drinks this cup you proclaim (demonstrate) the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Corinthians 11: 26).
When God’s people the church, assemble together, they come to Mount Zion which is figurative to the Church and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in joyful assembly, and to the assembly of the first born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a Judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the Mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks better things than that of Abel.
Jesus Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant which He instituted on the night before His crucifixion when He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to His disciples saying, ‘Take and eat; this is My body.’ And took the cup gave thanks and offered it to them saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant which is poured for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:26-28).
This covenant became in force only after the death of Jesus Christ, and became the means by which we can become ceremonially clean. For so says the scriptures; “He (Christ) entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.’
Therefore He is the Mediator of a New Covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when someone has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living” (Hebrews 9: 12-18).
Therefore the New Covenant which Jesus Christ instituted on the night before His death, became effective after His death, and it is now the means by which one becomes ceremonially clean and can now draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with their hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience, and their bodies washed with pure water, and Jesus Christ as their Mediator interceding on their behalf.
Therefore to put God first by seeking first His righteousness necessitates offering the Lord His offering at His appointed times. For thus says the Lord; “Give this command to the children of Israel and say to them: ‘My offering, My food for My offerings by fire (zeal), My pleasing aroma, you shall take heed to offer to Me at its season” (Numbers 28:2).
We were not left in ignorance as to when is the due season, or the appointed times are, for they are clearly stated in the book of Numbers chapter 28 and 29, and Leviticus chapter 23. As a matter of fact a holy or sacred assembly is a time God has sanctified and set apart for His people to appear before Him, and the specific purpose for this sacred assembly is to offer to Him His offering, which is besides or in addition to anything else one offers to Him.
For thus says the Lord “These are the appointed feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim as times of holy convocation, for presenting to the Lord offerings by fire, burnt offerings (which in our new dispensation is the Lamb – Jesus Christ), and grain offerings (flour mixed with oil – unleavened bread), sacrifices and drink offerings (wine), each on its proper day; besides the Sabbaths of the Lord, and besides your gifts, and besides whatever you have vowed, and besides all your freewill offerings, which you give to the Lord” (Leviticus 23:37-38).
It is this act of righteousness that the children of God have become enslaved to: For having been set free from sin, we have become slaves of righteousness. God requires that this offering, the food for His offerings, His sweet smelling aroma be offered to Him at its appointed time, and has set aside specific times for His children to come together before Him, specifically to offer to Him His offering, this is why the practice of this act of righteousness differentiates the children of God from the children of the devil.
This is the act of righteousness, that when practice produces holiness, and ultimately everlasting life. It is this same act of righteousness that when practice, one becomes righteous even as Jesus Christ is righteous. Therefore we have been warned saying; “Dear children, do not let anyone deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous just as He is righteous” (1 John 3:7).
The same way Abel was commended as being a righteous man because he offered the Lord the offering which was pleasing to Him, in like manner, we attain righteousness by faith when we offer the Lord His offering, His food for His offerings, His pleasing aroma at their appointed time.
The children of God are distinguished as, a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, in order that they may declare the praises of Him who called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. They are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Now the main duty and responsibility of the church as a royal priesthood, is clearly as the scripture states; “They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God, for they offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and the bread of their God; therefore they shall be holy” (Leviticus 21:6).
So let us learn to put God first, and do not worry saying, “What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after these things, and our heavenly Father knows that we need them. But let us seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to us as well.” We are admonished to; “Labor not for the food that perishes, but for the food which endures to Everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you. On Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval” (Matthew 6:31-33; John 6:27).
God has overlooked these times of ignorance and now has commanded all men everywhere to repent.
Copyright © 2014 by Lucius Joseph
All rights reserved
There are many people today, who professed to be believers in Christ Jesus, and do not uphold the laws of God. They say blatantly that the laws have been done away with. Others have the perception that being obedient to the law, is to be enslaved. But what does the scripture says! The scripture says plainly; “ What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?’
“But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6: 15-18).
But where do the laws of God emanate! And what is the objective of laws?
All the laws of God emanate from His Love; the love for the particular subject it intends to govern, protect, harmonize and sustained. For example; the laws which governs the universe is a reflection of God’s love for His creation, so that there will be continuous harmony and to avoid chaos.
For example; the Lord questioned Job and said; “…who shut in the sea with doors, when it burst forth and issued from the womb; When I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band; When I fixed My limit for it, and set bars and doors; When I said, ‘ This far you may come, but no farther, and here your proud waves must stop!’ (Job 38:8-11).
The law of God which governs the sea is out of God’s love for the protection and wellbeing of those who dwell on the earth. The absence of such a law would spell disaster and chaos on planet earth.
So then the laws which God ordained for man, is out of love, in order that man may live in harmony with God, nature and with one another. Living in accordance to the laws of God is what is termed living in the Spirit. Living contrary to the laws of God with every man doing what seems right in their own eyes, or following the customs and traditions of men, is what is termed living in accordance to the flesh.
In explaining the essence of God’s law to the children of Israel Moses said to them; “Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the Lord my God commanded me that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess. Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’
“For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him? And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day? Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, especially concerning the day you stood before the Lord your God in Horeb, when the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:5-10).
Jesus Christ in His teachings verifies the fact that law emanates from the love of God, and the expression of love is the fulfillment of the law. He said in no uncertain terms; “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” In other words, keeping the commandments is an expression of love towards God, whose love was channeled through the commandments.
He further said; “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him… “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me” (John 14:15, 21, 23-24).
The word therefore, or the law, is what sustains and harmonizes the relationship between God and man. For this is what the Lord says; “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:9-10).
Where there is an absence of law, there will automatically be an absence of love. Jesus Christ in predicting the deceptions at the end times said; “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:11-13).
The way one expresses love towards God, and to the children of God is by keeping God’s commandments, for it is clearly stated; “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” Love we are told; “does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (1John 5:2-3; Romans 13:10).
The law therefore, is the system that God ordained to give directives as to how to have a harmonious relationship with Himself and man, and man with his neighbor. And so we are instructed saying; “What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator” (Galatians 3:19).
The problem which man faced in relation to the law is that of his carnality, for the carnal mind we are told is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. And therefore, what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:7, 3, 4).
But now, with the advent of the Holy Spirit whom God gives to those who obey Him, and being imputed with the righteousness and holiness of Jesus Christ which could not be attained by the law, and being spiritually minded, the righteous requirement of the law can now be fulfilled in those who do not walk in accordance to the flesh, but are walking in accordance to the Spirit.
The fault with the old covenant was that the children of Israel did not continue in the Lord’s covenant, and the Lord disregarded them. So He made a new covenant with them saying; “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Hebrews 8:10-12).
In accordance to the law, “whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all,” and so; “as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them” (James 2:10; Galatians 3:10).
Because of man’s incapability of keeping the whole law without offending in one point, and be under the condemnation of death, because the wages of sin is death. God demonstrated His love toward us by giving His only Begotten Son, as an atonement for our sins, He then at conversion imputed us with the righteousness and holiness of His Son, so that we can perform the good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. And if (not when) anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
The irony of truth is, one is either a slave of sin, or a slave of righteousness. For it is written; ” What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:15-18).
Be mindful also of the fact that when one is a slave of sin he/she is free in regard to righteousness. In the same token, when one is a slave of righteousness he/she is free in regard to sin. Therefore we have been admonished saying, “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins (transgressing the laws of God) is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1John 3:7-8).
These times of ignorance God has overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent.To turn around and stop transgressing the laws of God. Faith and grace do not make the laws of God null and void. According to the apostle John, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him”. And, “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.” By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1John 2;3-4, 3;10, 5:2-3).
The question is, who are we going to believe, the word of God or man`s ideology of what the gospel is, the choice is yours.
Communion or fellowship is the act of sharing: it is the condition of things held in common with others. God’s desire for humanity is that they can share with Him, His divine nature.
From the creation of Man 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” (Gen. 1:26, 27).
Unfortunately, the fellowship became tainted because of sin, and man became separated from God (Isaiah 59:1- 2; Rom. 3: 23).
But because of the great love with which He loved us, It pleased the Father to bruise His only begotten Son by whom all things were created, and in whom all things consist, to put Him to grief, by making His soul an offering for sin, so that the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. (Eph. 2:4; Isa. 53:10-11; Jn. 1:3; Col. 1:15-17).
And now, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these, He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them we may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires”(2 Pet.1:3-4).
However, for man to have communion or fellowship with God the Father, four (4) things are of paramount importance. They form the prerequisites for communion with God, and the medium by which we share the life of God.
Now the four prerequisites are:-
To renew the relationship man had with God before the fall of man. A huge sacrifice had to be made to pay the wages of sin, which is death. God in His manifold wisdom and love for humanity, sent His Son in the form of sinful flesh, on account of sin, so as to condemn sin in the flesh, knowing that His death was sufficient to pay for all humanity’s sins, and reconciled them to Himself.(2 Cor. 5:14-15, Heb. 2:14-15; Rom. 8:1-4).
God reconciled humanity to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing or reckoning their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-19).
We then have both the ministry and the word of reconciliation.
The ministry of reconciliation is, “The act of service by which we are reconciled to God.” The actual sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, and the actual partaking of the bread and wine which Christ left to represent His broken body, and His shed blood. According to the Apostle Paul, “I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion (fellowship) of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many, are one body; for we all partake of that one bread” (1 Cor. 10:15-17).
It is the ministry or service of reconciliation that reconciles and unites the body of Christ which is the church as one.
And this communion or fellowship of the saints is also with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3).
The word of reconciliation is the word Jesus spoke to His disciples saying, “I tell you the truth, unless you can eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is real food, and My blood is real drink. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me, and I in him” (John 6:53-56).
And so the night before He was crucified, He took Bread, gave thanks, and broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26: 26-28).
On Christ’s behalf, we implore you to be reconciled to God, because God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:20-21).
2. Acceptance of Jesus Christ and believing in Him
Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
There is a practical application to this saying, and Jesus Christ is the one and only Mediator between God and man. He was taken from among men, and appointed as High Priest to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins (Hebrews 2:5, 5:1; 8:3).
It is stated quite categorically that, if we say that we have no sin, or have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word and truth have no place in our lives. But if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8, 10).
Our boldness and confidence to enter the Most Holy Place is only by:-
a. The blood of Christ, His life, in the form of the wine.
b. His body, the new and living way, in the form of the Unleavened Bread
c. Christ Himself, the word, the truth, officiating as the Great High Priest over the house of God.
Then and only then can we draw near to God with a sincere heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience” (Hebrews 10:19-22).
The crux of the matter is, God is light; in Him there is no darkness (sin) at all, and if we claim to have fellowship/communion with Him yet walk in the darkness (sin), we lie and do not live by the truth.”
Therefore, before coming to God sin has to be confessed, forgiven, and cleansed. And it is only by the blood of Jesus His Son that we are purified from all sin. (1 John 1:7, 9; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1;14; Matt.: 26: 28).
Obedience to God is paramount. Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” Again He said, “If you love Me keep My commandments” (John 14:23, 15).
Now the test by which we know that we love God is by keeping His commandments. For, “He who says, “I know Him” and does not keep His commandments is a liar and the The truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3-5).
It is also important to note that The Holy Spirit, our Teacher and Helper is given only to those who obey Him. (Acts 5:32).
We are admonished by the Apostle Paul saying, “Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14).
To have communion with God, one has to separate him/herself from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord. Righteousness has absolutely no fellowship with lawlessness, light has no communion with darkness, Christ has no harmony with Belial (useless things without worth); and the temple of God which is our human body has no agreement with idols” (2 Cor. 6:14-18).
The good and exhilarating news is that, Jesus Christ has made all the provisions for man to have communion with the Father through the cup of the New Covenant. Alienation or separation from the life of God, is as a result of “Ignorance, and hardening of the heart. (Eph. 4:18).
But truly, in the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent.I therefore urge everyone to have daily communion with God, and offer the Lord the food for His offerings at the times He has appointed, because our calling is a holy calling.
With love in Jesus’ name.
2. Christmas has a pagan origin
In this regard, the Lord, who is Jesus Christ, and the same yesterday, today and forever warned His people concerning the worshiping of false gods and said; “When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’
“You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. Whatever I command you be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” (Deuteronomy 12: 29-32).
We are further instructed saying; “Hear the word which the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus says the Lord: “Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them. For the customs of the peoples are futile; for one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple. They are upright, like a palm tree, and they cannot speak; they must be carried, because they cannot go by themselves. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, nor can they do any good” (Jeremiah 10:1-5).
We have also been warned saying; “that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s Table and of the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?” (1Corinthians 10: 20-22).
The irony of truth is, coming before God at a time which He has not appointed is profanity and an abomination. For thus says the Lord; “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me? I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats.’
“When you come to appear before Me, who has required this from your hand, to trample My courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense (prayer) is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies — I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons (beginning of months) and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood” (Isaiah 1:11-15).
The Lord echoed similar sentiment to the prophet Amos regarding the children of Israel by saying; “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I do not savor your sacred assemblies. Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs, for I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream” (Amos 5:21-24).
The Lord has ordained specific times on which His people should appear before Him to worship the Lord in the beauty of Holiness and to rejoice before Him. For thus says the Lord; “These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times” (Leviticus 23:2, 4).
The Lord went on to specify each one of them by name, and the date of celebration, incidentally, Christmas is not one of them and therefore, it is an abomination to the Lord.
To be continued.
The chosen people of God are chosen from both Jews and Gentiles, and are called for specific purposes. For thus says the Lord: “What if God, wanting to make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
As He says also in Hosea: “I will call them My people, who were not My people, and her beloved, who were not beloved. And it shall come to pass in the place where it is said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ there they will be called sons of the living God” (Romans 9:23-26).
The main objective for being called and chosen by God is to obtain the glory of the Lord. For according to the apostle Paul, “We are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).
God’s chosen people are regarded as, “Living stones being built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1Peter 2:5).
Most people stumble because they disobey the message, which is also what they were destined for. The church is destined and has the responsibility to offer to the Lord the food for His offerings. This is made very clear by the apostle Paul who unveiled to us his insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.
He said, “This mystery is that through the gospel (which is Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that, He was buried, and rose again the third day according to the scriptures; and that we are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus) the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and shares together in the promise in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 3:6).
The apostle Paul continued to express his authority with regards to this mystery by saying; “Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration (application) of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.’
The church is consecrated by God, and its members are a chosen people, a holy priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, in order that they may declare the praises of Him who called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. This is God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory (1Peter 2:9; 1 Corinthians 2:7-8).
As a nation of priests the number one responsibility of the church is to strive to obtain the glory of the Lord, until Christ is formed in us, and until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
It is said that; “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” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
The way the church can attain the glory of the Lord is by walking in unity of the Spirit, and by being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God, as alluded to by the apostle Paul who wrote saying; “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;one Lord, one faith, one baptism;one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
The apostle Paul also admonished the church saying; “that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 1: 1-6; Colossians 1:10-14).
The power of the church, and the means by which it is glorified, is through the redemption which is in the blood of Jesus Christ, and therefore the church is required to carry out its functions as a nation of priests.
Copyright © 2012 by Lucius Joseph
All rights reserved
Everyone who has been reconciled to God through Jesus has been given a responsibility, which is, the ministry of reconciliation. Now a ministry is an office, a duty, or times of service of a minister. I am in the view that there are not too many professing Christians who know and understand the difference between one being drawn to Christ, and one being drawn to the Father.
Jesus said quite emphatically, No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” This drawing to Christ by the Father was made at the cross, as Jesus again said; “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”
Humanity was all drawn to Jesus Christ by the Father when Christ died on the cross for the sins of all humanity, giving them an access by which they can draw near to the Father. But for humanity to draw near to the Father it must be through Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life, and the only mediator between God and man, otherwise no one comes to the Father.
There is however a definite process by which Jesus Christ draws a person to the Father. Infact, there has always been a process by which anyone could draw near to God. In the Old Testament for example it was through the law of animal sacrifices, which although could not present the worshiper perfect, yet it was necessary, and so we are told that; “The law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God” (Hebrews 7:19).
Therefore, the criterion by which one is drawn near to the Father is through perfection, holiness, being blameless in His sight, in perfect harmony with God, for He is light, and has absolutely no fellowship with darkness. And, “This is what the LORD spoke, saying: ‘ By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified” (Leviticus 10:3).
For anyone to be drawn to the Father, he/she must be in complete harmony with the Father, holy, and blameless in His sight. So how can this be possible when it is clearly stated that, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” And, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us?”
The only way that this becomes feasibly is by, walking in the light as He is in the light, and then, and only then can we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. And, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The process by which one in drawn near to the Father is called the process of reconciliation, which is the act of reconciling, bringing into harmony, in agreement, and to purify by special ceremonies, through the offering of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and therefore to fulfill this requirement, believers have been given the ministry of reconciliation.
And so we are told that, “We have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
As ministers of the new covenant, our task is to offer to the Lord the food for His offerings, which He has appointed us to offer to Him at its appointed time. For the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Command the children of Israel, and say to them, ‘My offering, My food for My offerings made by fire as a sweet aroma to Me, you shall be careful to offer to Me at their appointed time” (Numbers 28:2).
Bear in mind that what transpired in the old testament was a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, because when Moses was about to make the tabernacle he was divinely instructed saying, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” And, it is also stated that, “It was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.”
To appear before God through Jesus Christ one must be in harmony with the Father, and what gives us the confidence and boldness to appear in the presence of the Father, is stated quite explicitly by the apostle Paul who wrote; “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.’
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
The irony of truth is, we can only fulfill our ministry of reconciliation by believing the testimony which God has given us concerning His Son, and applying it as ordained.
Copyright © 2012 by Lucius Joseph
All rights reserved
The church from all indications has lost its primary objective, and has lost its way and focus wandering in the wilderness of sin, adulterating itself with the customs and traditions of this world, making no distinction between the holy and the profane, and between the clean and the unclean. They are associating the name of Christ to every worldly and pagan activity, using slogans such as “Let us put Christ back in Christmas.” As though by associating the name of Christ to their worldly and pagan activities this will automatically sanctify them, and gain God’s approval. What a profanity! What an abomination?
The church has either closed its eyes, or holding in contempt Christ’s prayer made on behalf of his disciples when he prayed to the Father and said; “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth” (John 17:14-19).
The church like the world has lost sight of the fact that. “The solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2Timothy 2:19).
This principle is also applicable to the Lord’s festivals, for thus the Lord; “These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times.” Therefore the Lord definitely knows his festivals (Leviticus 23:2, 4).
So what is the primary objective of the church? Let me state unequivocally that all the good that we do is to fulfill this primary objective, and all that we become or attained will be as the result of this primary objective. But let me assure you that this primary objective of the church is not to use the name of Jesus Christ as a passport to every unethical thing that one does, this does not justify or sanctify the profane and the unclean.
We have been duly instructed saying; “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)
There is only one hope for our calling, and this hope was ordained in Christ before the foundation of the world, as it is written; “We are to give praise to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realm with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Ephesians 1:3-4).
We have also been instructed saying; “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 4: 3-8).
Therefore, we have been admonished saying; “…prepare our minds for action; be self-controlled; set our hope fully on the grace to be given to us when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires we had when we lived in ignorance; but just as he who called us is holy, so be holy in all we do; for it is written: Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:13-16).
To attain holiness and perfecting it in the fear of the Lord is the church’s primary objective in life, everything else is secondary, we have been admonished to; “…strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:12-14).
Jesus Christ has delivered us from sin so that we can become slaves of righteousness in order to become holy as it is written; “And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.” Then ultimately because of holiness, one will attain everlasting life which is the immortality of the human body. And so it is written; “But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life” (Romans 6: 18-20, 22).
Holiness is God’s divine nature; He created us with the intent of developing his nature, to be filled with his fullness: so from the beginning of man’s creation God said; “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” And; “He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13).
So how does one attain holiness? The same way that there is one body and one Spirit, one hope of our calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, so also there is only one formula for holiness, one Mediator between God and men. So the only formula for holiness is by partaking of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, which Jesus Christ our High Priest offers to the Father on behalf of our sins. The Lord’s instruction regarding the consecration and sanctification of the priests is; “They shall eat those things with which the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them; but an outsider shall not eat them, because they are holy” (Exodus 29:33).
The church is a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own special people, ordained to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God, for it is written: “You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1Peter 2:5).
And they must take heed that they offer it to the Lord at the appointed time, for it is written; “Command the children of Israel, and say to them, ‘My offering, My food for My offerings made by fire as a sweet aroma to Me, you shall be careful to offer to Me at their appointed time” (Numbers 28:28).
This sweet aroma which satisfies and fulfills the Father’s will is the sacrificial body and blood of Jesus Christ in the form of the bread and wine, which he instituted on the night before his death, and became effective after his death, since a will is not force while the testator is alive. This is the offering that he as High Priest is appointed to offer on behalf of the sins of the people, and so we have been admonished saying; “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:1-2).
May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give to us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, so that the eyes of our understanding being enlightened; may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.