Hello, Audiences! Welcome to Return to God Forum. I am Dr. Danson Ubebe – Teacher and Author. This is Episode 15 of our teaching series. It is the fifth of; “Called to the kingdom of God” sub-series. Every topic and subtopic we discuss is confirmed by a declaration from at least two scriptures. It is important to note we were saved by only the gospel of the cross of Jesus and Him crucified (Gal. 6:14).
Our topic today is ABCs for peace of mind & three stages of salvation.
Objective: To learn how to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
The mind is a battleground between thoughts and motives of good and evil. To cope with it, Jesus taught us to be passionate about the kingdom of God.
- The peace of mind is not the absence of conflict. But it is a sign that your mind is focused on the Way (Is. 26:3), a popular nickname of Christ in early centuries. Disciples who behaved like Him were labeled people of the Way (Acts 9:1-2). Though harassed, they had peace of mind (Phil. 4:6-7) for following Jesus who gives peace, not as of the world (John 14:27). The Way mirrored the significance of the Sermon on the Mount which Jesus taught early in His ministry (Mt. 5:1-2). The first consequence of looking away from the Way is fear. Peter testified to it when he began to sink once he took his eyes off Jesus while they walked on water (Mt. 14:22-31).
The custodians of the law and their collaborators rejected Jesus. They hunted the disciples of the Way like animals (Acts 9:1-2). Pride dulled their minds. So, they could not humble themselves to accept and believe Jesus and be one with others in the Lord (John 17:21)?
- Why is the mind wicked? This is traceable to the beginning. God created perfect earth. The extension was polluted – Fig. 1 (insert). So, He rebuilds it as the foundation of the world. He next created the spiritual man (1Pet. 3:4) in His image & likeness in the Lord (Gen. 1:27). And formed the spirit of man within him (Zech. 12:1). This spirit is not the man. Next formed natural man on earth above the sky; how do you know? Explained in insert (Fig. 3A). Lastly, He united them into a masterpiece; known as a living being (Gen. 2:7), a god (Lk. 3:38) to live forever. This first man, Adam, a union of the man of spirit and of mud was natural (1Cor. 15:46). The man lived with the light God spoke to be, and not with sunlight – like begets like. Next visual aids explain further:
Note that the earth God created in the beginning (Gen. 1:1) was not part of the chaos. So, it remains intact and perfect.
Celestial earth (1Cor. 15:40) – reference (Fig. 3 Part A), is lit by the light which God called out of the darkness. It is like the light which shone on and blinded Paul on his way to Damascus to hunt for the disciples (Acts 9:3-6). Adam’s body of mud was clothed in glory (Ps. 8:5) to live forever and not to return to dust. The glory was his outward outlook or cover of his inward structure like physical skin. So, his death in Eden suggests he hid or separated from God and his forgetfulness of Him.
The sin of Adam pulled back God’s glory. It annulled Adam’s chance to live forever. After he died (Gen. 3:8) God clothed his nakedness with the body of blood of animal skin to return to dust (Acts 17:26). Then he was driven out of Eden.
On terrestrial earth, light is supplied by the sun, moon, and stars (Gen. 1:14-18). When sinful Adam woke to reality, he forgot God and made idols as his god (Rom. 1:20-32). Then he began to worship Satan, ruler of the earth of darkness (John 12:31). The seeds of Adam are born dead on earth into reality in transgressions and iniquity (Ps. 51:5). So, man is a pilgrim on this earth (1Pet. 2:11-12). Mortal death is the response to the curse on him to return to dust. This was after he first died or separated from God in Eden (Gen. 3:8) – proven by noticing he was naked and was ashamed, unlike when he was covered by the glory of God (Gen. 2:25). Mortal death does not separate man from God the second time. So, it is a consequential event to the curse on him. This was simulated by the crucifixion at Calvary – First God forsook Jesus, which is the separation as it was in Eden (Mt. 57:46). Then mortal death later to return the body to dust (Mt. 57: 49). But His resurrection prevented His body from rot (Ps. 16:10).
Under the sky, man is short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). It portrayed the death of his physical outlook or separation from God. Every man is born with a hardened heart, deceitful and wicked. As shown by Jesus, the curse on man to return to dust (Gen. 3:19) was neither part of the law of forbidden fruit, nor his death or separation from God in Eden.
- Why a man cannot undo his sinful nature. The sin Adam committed ingrained sinful nature in man. For he was then in his loans. So, there is nothing man can do to undo his sinful nature for it is infused in his spirit, soul, and body. Hence the heart is full of evil thoughts (Mk. 7:21).
In the case of righteousness, only those who abide in Christ retain it (Rom. 5:17). So, if a man who once received the righteousness of Christ does abominations and not repent, he would lose it, and vice versa (Ezek. 18:20-24). Any man who does not abide will be like a withered tree branch, which is cast into the fire (John 15:6).
The argument that man cannot lose the righteousness once received is an untruth. It contrasts the word of God. Regarding salvation or forgiveness of sin, every scripture must queue behind the cross of Jesus to be legitimate. Example – “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin (Rom. 4:8).” Grace as construed by God does not fellowship with lawlessness (Rom. 6:1).
- Consequences of separation from God. Two separate kinds of sin infested the fallen world. The sin of Satan infested a once stretched-out perfect earth as he fell on it (Rev. 12:9). On the other hand, the sin of Adam infested the creatures. Therefore, no man with sinful blood or anything made could save him (Ps. 49:6-9).
Sinful Adam began life on this earth as a slave of sin (Rom. 6:20). So, he awoke as deep darkness on earth of darkness (Is.60:2). This would have been forever if Jesus did not come to save man.
- The arrival of Jesus and His Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon is the ABCs required to find the Way by those who seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Mt. 6:33). Only the Way leads to heaven in every workplace. It can be categorized into two types of actions. Namely. – One that seeks the kingdom of God, and the other that seeks the Righteousness of the kingdom of God.
New knowledge from 1 – 5 ABCs makes the mind hunger for the kingdom of God. It provokes the desire to do the will of God instead of the flesh (1Pet. 4:1-2). So, the wickedness of men would mean nothing compared to the joy of following Jesus (Mt. 10:6). It reduces the battle of thoughts of good and evil in the mind. So, the mind will be at peace. Thoughts that trigger depression and loneliness, etc. will be overshadowed with joy.
6-9 ABCs focus the mind on thoughts and motives that please God. It is aimed at filling the heart with joy, peace, and righteous thoughts amid challenges. This inspires the desire to know more about the sacrifice of Jesus.
- There is no absolute assurance of being saved forever. In brief, three stages of salvation exist. The common salvation (Eph. 2:8-9), the daily salvation by grace (1Cor. 1:18), and the final salvation of the soul (1Pet. 1:9) for those who endure to the end (Mt. 24:13). Every stage is perfected by sanctification (Gal. 3:2-3) to make beneficiary holy like God is holy (1Pet. 1:16). So, scripture clearly described all that is required to know about salvation, sanctification, and vis-a-vis being born again. Instead, you hear men talk of once saved, saved forever, the man was sanctified once, and being born again (with or in the earthly body). “Like the people, like the priest (Hos. 4:9).” Was Jesus born again only Spiritually or with the mortal body? So, to be body again is by faith (Heb. 11:1). To begin the process of salvation, man as the seed of Adam was the rightful person to save himself. But he couldn’t pay the cost to save his soul (Ps. 49: 8). So, God resorted to His love for a man to save him. So, He sent Jesus (John 3:16). For this purpose, He prepared the soul of Jesus as an offering for sacrifice (Is. 53:10). The body served as a substitute for the soul God created in His image and likeness as first Adam. Jesus further demonstrated His love for man by fulfilling customary law about redeeming the right of first refusal (ROFR) from who it rightly belongs (Ruth 4: 1-11). So, He bore the burden of saving man by washing the disciples’ feet. It justified man to gather in Christ to receive his inheritance (Eph. 1:10-11).
Salvation, sanctification, and being born again are progressive. For the priest to be like the people, he must first belong to those who hear the voice of Christ (John 18:37) – the church. In serving God the church makes up the people of the priest. The ROFR to Jesus to save man was freely given according to Peter (John 13:8-9). It gave Jesus the legitimacy to save man by His sacrifice on the cross.
- The dual role of the cross of Jesus. The Lamb of God was crucified on the cross for the offenses of man (Mt. 27:50). On the third day, He resurrected as the way through His flesh to the kingdom of God (John 14:6). The Way represents the truth. The truth formed the cartoon known as the body of Christ (1Cor. 12:27). Every hearer of the word of God is equal truth personified and a member of the body of Christ. The assembly is called the church of Christ (Rom. 12:4-5). This was proven with scripture interpreting scripture in episode 13. The shed blood of Jesus was the justification for God to forgive the sin man committed before (Rom. 3:25). Then the man was saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9). Thus, the cross of Jesus is the crown of death Jesus put on to save man. At the same time, the cross is the dawn of our everlasting life in Christ. As a result, we are to “always carry about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in your body (2Cor. 4:10).” To conform to Jesus’ death and to carry in the body the dying Lord Jesus requires man to first possess the ABCs to the Way, as listed previously. To conform suggests the desire to:
- Know Jesus and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His
suffering on the cross (Phil. 3:10), and to
- seek to find: “what is the exceeding greatness of the power of God toward
believers, according to the working of the mighty power of God which He
worked in Christ to raise Him from the dead (Eph. 1:19-20).”
The cross of Jesus and Him crucified (1Cor. 2:2) is the object of faith in God. The gospel is the infallible truth. Him alone has guaranteed salvation (Gal. 6:14). To conform to the death of Jesus is the desire to be perfect.
- What scripture says about the sins forgiven man. From the moment man rejected God in the garden of Eden, he began to contradict the word of God. Even the salvation of man through the finished work of Jesus has not stopped a man from worshipping with his lips. Else, how can it be explained that God forgave the man his past, present, and future sins? Does it not contradict scripture which declared that for the propitiation of Jesus on the cross, God forgave man the sins he committed before (Rom. 3:25)? Is it that Jesus’ sacrifice was in vain? This is just a tip of the self-righteousness of men. It undermines the voice of God whose hearer is of the truth (John 18:37). And which makes a man a member of the body of the church of Christ (Rom. 12:4-5). It is impossible offenses will not come (Lk. 17:1). So, after man has been saved, he would certainly do wickedly contrary to the word of God (Eph. 5:3,11). Hence God offered man repentance in the event of sin (1John 1:9). God would be contradicting His word regarding consistency and impartiality if indeed He forgave sins not yet committed. His warning against the work of the flesh is like the warning to Adam in the garden of Eden (Gen. 2:17). Self-righteousness remains the tragedy of man. Every man holds to his opinion by inference as right, against the scripture. For instance, grace is said to be unmerited favor by inference from the saying that if by grace, then it is no longer works, etc. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace, etc. (Rom. 11:6). This reading of grace is clearly by human logic.
The sin committed now or in the future will not instantly separate man from God. But it will in the end, for those who fail to repent (Gal. 5:19-21). Make no mistake about it.
- A case for born-again. Jesus is the Lamb of God. A sinless body was prepared for Him for sacrifice (Heb. 10:5) to take away the sin of the World (John 1:29). How? He was accused and condemned to death. Then crucified on the cross for the sin man committed previously (Rom. 3:25). By it, mankind was saved. But everyone requires believing to be saved, not born again; explained in sub-topic number 6 above. It is important to note Jesus was sacrificed as the 2nd Adam. When 1st Adam died all men were in his loins and they died too. Jesus executed the reversal for Himself and all men, though are standing apart from Him. So, everyone is required to accept and believe in Him. Only those who believe are saved (Lk. 19:10). And only those who are saved and abide in Him forever will be His co-heir (John 15:4). Unlike 1st Adam who harbored all men in his loins, in the case of 2nd Adam, all men race to gather into Him (Eph. 1:10). In the place of the body of sin destroyed on the cross, God created a new man in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:24). This is made up of the Spirit of God (1John 4:13), the soul created first in the image and likeness of God but was corrupted and is now regenerated to the glory of Christ the Lord (2Cor. 3:18), and the glorious body (Phil. 3:21) made without hands (2Cor. 5:1). As for every man he who believes and abides in Christ lives by the Spirit of God (Gal. 2:20). The soul is being renewed (2Cor. 4:16). Jesus will change his body of flesh and blood to that of spirit structure on His 2nd coming (1Cor. 15:50).
Until all three (spirit, soul, and body) are born again separately first, no man will be wholly born again like risen Christ. At present born again is by faith – The substance remains a thing hoped for till the second coming of Christ. To be deemed wholly saved when you believed (Acts 16:31) is not equal to wholly born again apart from my faith. To believe is the beginning of the way to be born again.
- Do all things in the love of God. It is proof that a man is a practitioner of the ABCs for peace of mind. What is love? A brief overview is to bear the burden of who you love for him to enjoy his hitherto deprivation (Gal. 6:2). It is unconditional love, desiring nothing in return. It portrays the same mind of Jesus (Phil. 2:5). The purpose of self-denial is to bring peace, joy, and hope to the beneficiary, like salt does to taste of food and light to darkness and productivity, to the glory of God (Mt. 5:13-16). The love of God put smiles on the faces of people. It is an influencer to all near and far like rain which falls for the benefit of good and evil. Thoughts and motives are what guide the show of love of God. Nothing should suggest it is a deal, an action contrary to the word of God (Mt. 5:28). It is hypocrisy to go to the church when you have not settled the rift between you and your brother (Mt. 5:23-24). You cannot claim to love God who you do not see more than your brother you see (1John 4:20). He who loves will not harbor habits contrary to the word of God (Mt. 5:29-34). Rather he prays and gives quietly or in secret to avoid the praise of men, and for God to be glorified.
The love of God contrasts carnal love. Though material gifts are good, it is generally tied to the expectation of something desired from the beneficiary. God measures love by the thoughts and motives of the donor.
- Converting fellow men. Everyone who believes in Jesus is called to evangelize. The proper approach is to be a witness of only the scripture according to the gospel of the cross of Jesus and Him crucified (1Cor. 2:2). Emphasis should be on storing treasures in heaven which is within us (Lk. 17:2). It is where safety is assured (Mt. 6: 19-21). Also, lay emphasis on the need to endure persecution and to refrain from sin or revenge, and on hatred by the world ((John 15:18-27). Also, give reasons to repent in case of sin (1John 1:9). Available options are Life and death (Deut. 30:19). Choose life which is signified by following through the narrow gate and winding way which guarantees eternal life of bliss (Mt. 7:13-14).
To mix the gospel of Jesus crucified with any other is like to pour new wine in old wineskin and corrupt the content (Mt. 9:14-17). Treasures in heaven are such things that give glory, praise, and honor to God.
(All References are from New King James Version (NKJV) of Holy Bible. All rights Reserved).
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