Sunday, October 03 2021
Is there power in prayer? That depends on whom one prays. No one should think that praying to Allah, Krishna, or any other deity is any more helpful than wishing on a star. Secular politicians would have us pray and praise them. Many mock “thoughts and prayers” claiming that thoughts and prayers do nothing and they, the politicians, need to do more by balancing the rights of citizens. We should not think that atheistic leaders could help us more than our Creator helps us.
Prayer to God the Father of Jesus Christ is powerful because God is all-powerful and He is able to do more than we can ask and think. The faithful trust in God and pray to Him in times of anxiety (Philippians 4:4–7). Why? Because God promises to give peace and strength to the faithful.
Do you bend your knees in prayer to God the Father? In Ephesians 3, the apostle Paul bowed in prayer to the Father (3:14). He humbled himself and so should Christians now. Bowing in prayer is a common posture of Christians in the Bible. Furthermore, Paul prayed to God the Father as Jesus did and Christians should primarily do. In the Letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul noted that the faithful calls out to the Father while noting that Christ and the Spirit make intercession speaking to God the Father on behalf of the faithful (Romans 8:15, 26, 34). In Ephesians 3, Paul prayed to the Father “from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named” for which Paul was referring to the families of the nations united “in Christ” (Ephesians 1:1; 2:11–14; 3:6).
What power and strength can Christians receive from prayer? The apostle Paul prayed that God give the riches that are “in Christ” to these Christians. He requested God for the faithful to be “strengthened with power through the Spirit in the inner person” (Ephesians 3:16). The faithful in Christ have strength and power from God through the Holy Spirit within each person to comprehend the love of Christ. The apostle revealed in his prayer that this is how Christ dwells in the heart through faith (3:17). Furthermore, Paul prayed that these believers have the faith in Christ so that they are founded and established by love (3:17). Love is the first of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23). That love allows the faithful to have the strength that allows them to be fully able to understand with all the saints the width, the length, the height, and the depth to know the surpassing knowledge of the love of Christ (3:18–19). The knowledge of Christ’s love enables the faithful to “be filled with all the fullness of God” that is to be full of the attributes of God (3:19).
God does more than Christians can think to pray to receive. The apostle noted in his prayer that God “is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). Furthermore, God does this with the power and strength within faithful Christians. Paul revealed that God does this “according to the power at work within us” (3:20). God will not stop doing all these amazing works to His glory in the church and in Christ Jesus. God accomplishes this all as Paul concluded his prayer “throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (3:21).
Sunday, September 26 2021
God does work in mysterious ways. God’s ways are not the ways of man and humanity’s thinking is not the same as God’s thoughts. God declared, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8–9 ESV). Furthermore, Moses recorded that the secret things belong to God, yet God has revealed many secret truths to His people in His words (Deuteronomy 29:29). Despite many false assumptions, God is not so mysterious that His people cannot know His words.
God has given faithful Christians a foundation to know the secret truths of God. God revealed these hidden truths by Jesus. For the revealing of the mysteries of God, the apostle Paul described his part as having “the stewardship of God’s grace” meaning that he is a manager of God’s house, the church (Ephesians 3:2). In other words, God has given Paul the responsibility of revealing God’s secret truths to His people. The apostle explained that God’s people, the church, are built on the apostles and prophets with Jesus as the cornerstone (Ephesians 2:19–22). By this “stewardship of God’s grace,” the apostle Paul gave revelation that is essential to the foundation of the church as Paul expanded upon how God’s grace saves the faithful to be God’s “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works” (2:10). God has given Paul a duty and responsibility to help maintain His house, the church, and Paul does so by writing Scripture.
What secret truths did Paul reveal from the mysteries of God? The apostle does this work by writing revelation of truth from God (Ephesians 3:3–5). The apostle Paul called these secret truths “the mystery of Christ” and he wrote so that faithful Christians could read his insight into the mystery of Christ (Ephesians 3:3–4). Paul explained that the mysterious truths of God are now revealed to Christ’s “holy apostles and prophets” by the Spirit (3:5). Jesus taught that He would send the Spirit to His apostles, and the Spirit would reveal all truth to them (John 14:26; 16:12–13). All of this supports Paul’s words at the end of his life when he taught that every Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable to make the person of God equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16–17).
For the truth of God’s Word in the Scriptures, Paul recorded the mystery of Christ is that the nations and the Jews partake of God’s promise and are members of the same body in Christ through the gospel message (3:6). The Word of God is recorded for the faithful to read and be united in one body. God made Paul a minister of the gospel message according to His grace and by the working of His power (Ephesians 3:7). Paul recognized himself as the least of saints, yet God gave him grace to evangelize to the nations proclaiming the unsearchable wealth of Christ (3:8). Paul’s role was to enlighten God’s plan for everyone to see what was hidden from the ages in God who created everything (3:9). Through the least to the greatest, God shows the truth of His Word through Jesus that the apostles and prophets have written for the faithful to read and perceive the truth.
For faithful Christians, the ability to perceive God’s mysterious plans of His everlasting purpose is an amazing blessing. God revealed these truths by the apostles and prophets to make known the depths of His wisdom even to the rulers and authorities “in heavenly places” through the church (3:10; cf. 6:12). God did this according to the purpose for the ages that God worked and accomplished by Jesus Christ (3:11). Thereby, the faithful have boldness and access to God by confidence in the faithfulness of Christ (3:12). For this reason, Paul encouraged the faithful to be confident and not to be discouraged because of his trials on their behalf, which are to the glory of those who in Christ (3:13).
Thank God that we can have confidence by reading the revealed Word of God that God kept hidden from the world. We can perceive the secret truths of God given by His apostles and prophets in the Bible. We can make known God’s wisdom because we, the faithful, are the church of Christ.
Sunday, September 19 2021
What hope is there for various groups of people who are without hope and without God? Paul reminded the Gentile Christians in Ephesus that they were once “separated from Christ” and alienated from Israel because they were the “uncircumcised” and strangers to God’s covenants (Ephesians 2:11–12). Therefore, the apostle noted that they had “no hope and without God in the world” (2:12).
What is the answer for those separated from God and His promises? The faithful of all nations are now “in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:13). Paul had already noted that all the spiritual blessings from God are for the faithful who are “in Christ” because they heard and believed the gospel. As God promised to bless all nations, God predestined those who are “in Christ” to be holy and blameless by His forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:3–14). No matter one’s ethnicity, followers of Christ are to unite in Christ.
How can many people from different backgrounds unite in Christ? The apostle Paul revealed that those in Christ from other nations were “once far off” but now “have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). For this reason, Paul declared that Christ is peace because He unites all ethnicities in one body, the church (2:14). Jesus broke down the dividing wall between the Jews and all other nations by annulling the law of commands and ordinances given to Israel (2:14–15). Furthermore, Jesus revealed that He came not to abolish God’s Law but to fulfill God’s Law (Matthew 5:17). Christ brings together people of all ethnicities through the cross (2:16). The apostle noted that Jesus came preaching peace for all people (Ephesians 2:17). Jesus put an end to the hostility of all peoples bringing peace to all nations who remain faithful to Jesus. Through Christ, all have access to God the Father in one Spirit (2:18). While cultures differ, all can unite in Jesus Christ.
What foundation does Jesus give to unite people among all nations? The church has no strangers and foreigners within, but all are members of the household, the family of God (2:19). The church is God’s people built like a house of gathering with “the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone” (2:20). Paul taught that the church is symbolically a house and a structure joined together as a holy temple for God’s dwelling by His Spirit (2:21). In other words, God dwells among His people in this world. Jesus does not separate churches by ethnicity. Christ has set the foundation for all people to unite upon one faith (4:4–6).
What is the conclusion then? Unity for the sake of unity is futile and meaningless. However, Jesus has brought peace and unity among all peoples. Christ is the head over the church as His body and He is the cornerstone of the church (Ephesians 1:22; 2:20). The church has Christ as the foundation of being one body, so we must strive to maintain unity in the bond of peace (4:1–3).
Sunday, September 12 2021
What is it like being dead, spiritually lifeless and separated from God? Life is empty without God and we feel despair when we can’t find something more to distract us. The apostle Paul wrote to the faithful in Ephesus, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1 ESV). The good news is that this death in trespasses and sins was in the past. However, the apostle uses this state of lifelessness in sin to remind the Ephesian church of where they once were and how they once lived. Paul noted, “You once walked, following the course of this world” (Ephesians 2:2).
Why do we so easily listen to the world and ignore God? In the past and now, many believers listen to the world, the media, and the “experts” over God’s Word. When people follow the world, they are following the ruler and spirit that works in the descendants of disobedience to God (Ephesians 2:2). This is the life of living in “the passions of the flesh” and “the desires of the body and mind” (Ephesians 2:3). The apostle Paul revealed that those living by the way of the world were “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3). They were not going to escape justice by God's judgment. No one can escape and release oneself completely from this death without some powerful life-giving influence.
What does the Creator of everything have to give to humanity? God is abundant in mercy because of His great love for humankind (Ephesians 2:4). God makes those who trust in Him “alive together with Christ” when we were once “dead in our trespasses” (2:5). This is salvation by grace. In other words, God rescues the faithful because He favors those who believe and trust in Him (2:5). In this life, God raises the faithful from death in sin to life with Christ (2:6). This is an enactment of Christ’s resurrection in hope of the coming resurrection on the last day (Romans 6:3–7; cf. John 5:28–29; 6:40). Furthermore, God gives us this blessing as we are with Christ who is in God’s heavenly dwelling (Ephesians 2:6). This was all a part of God’s plan to demonstrate “the immeasurable riches of His grace” (2:7). God’s kindness is to make us alive despite the death that we brought upon ourselves.
Of all of God's riches, what has He given us? Paul declared, “For by grace you have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8). In other words, the faithful are saved now and God’s salvation is His gift to those who trust in Him. The apostle noted that this is not the doing of works of anyone, but salvation is the gift of God (2:8–9). Because salvation is not from our works, no one can boast. Furthermore, God’s grace has made the faithful into God’s “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works” and so the faithful walk in those good works (2:10).
The grace of God changes those who believe and accept it through repentance and baptism (Romans 6:3–7). The apostle Paul taught more about the good works that are based on God’s grace and Christ’s salvation from death (Ephesians 4:17–6:9). God’s mission for the church is to do good works and make the gospel known as Paul taught throughout his letter to the Ephesians (3:9–10). Thank God for His salvation through Christ so that we now live to do good works giving glory to God.
Sunday, September 05 2021
“For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light” (Psalm 36:9 ESV). By viewing the world with knowledge of God, people can see reality, purpose, and meaning. The psalmist declared, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” God’s Word displays reality for all people from the highly educated and the wise to the simplest thinker and the mind of a child. “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:105, 130).
Jesus enlightens the eyes of the faithful. By Jesus, Christians are able to know and perceive by their hearts the eternal blessings from God. The apostle Paul prayed that God give “the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation” to Christians (Ephesians 1:17). The apostle explained that the Spirit of wisdom and revelation comes by the knowledge of Jesus Christ that enlightens of the eyes of the heart (1:17–18). This light within hearts by Christ is to know the hope of the riches of the glorious inheritance that Christ calls the faithful to receive (1:18). In other words, knowing Christ gives light to see the blessings of eternal life. God works all these great eternal blessings through Jesus’s resurrection and His authority over all at the right hand of God (1:19–21). For this reason, Christ is over all things to the church (1:22–23).
Knowledge of Jesus’s resurrection gives light to reveal hope to faithful Christians. For this reason, Paul declared that the Christian hope is Jesus (1 Timothy 1:1). Jesus resurrected so that the faithful would physically rise to eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:20–22; cf. 6:14). Paul revealed, “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?” (Romans 8:23–24). The apostle reported, “For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality” to inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:53; cf. Philippians 3:20–21). When Jesus returns, He will resurrect the dead to physical life again (John 5:28–29; 6:40). Paul taught, “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). For the resurrection of bodies, Christians wait for the place that Christ promised to prepare (John 14:2–3). Christians await the city built by God in the heavenly country where they will live in their changed immortal bodies (Hebrews 11:10, 16).
By the light of Christ, the faithful see reality (John 8:12; 9:5). We see that the Creator will restore the bodies of the faithful and His creation from corruption and death unto an incorruptible state. God gives life again (Isaiah 26:19). Because God has created everything, nothing is too hard for God (Jeremiah 32:17). In this hope, Jesus has enlightened the eyes of hearts to know the hope of eternal life for this we live by faith and rejoice for God’s love (Ephesians 1:17–18).
Sunday, August 29 2021
Every believer seeking God’s blessings wants to be in Christ. God the Father has blessed those who are in Christ with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3). What are those blessings? The apostle Paul revealed these blessings in Ephesians 1:3–14. God chose those in Christ to be holy and blameless (1:4). God has adopted the faithful in Christ as His children (1:5). As God’s adopted children, God redeems the faithful by Jesus’s blood and gives forgiveness according to His grace (1:7). These blessings come to the faithful through all the wisdom and insight set forth in Christ (1:8–10). Therefore, everyone who comes to know of the wisdom and insight of Christ and becomes a faithful saint will inherit as God’s children every spiritual blessing especially being counted holy and blameless by God through forgiveness that comes by Christ’s blood.
Furthermore, God the Father has given the faithful an inheritance in Jesus Christ as God predestined (1:11). God works everything according to His will, so no one can stop God from keeping His promises. Those whom God has predestined for hope in Christ (1:12). By Christ, people hear the gospel as the word of truth and the Holy Spirit seals them when they believe as God promised the Spirit as a guarantee (1:13–14). Peter promised the gift of the Holy Spirit when the believer repents and is baptized in Jesus’s name (Acts 2:38). God promised the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32).
God predestined those who are “in Christ” with blessings and promises before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Nowhere does the Bible teach that God predestined certain individuals to accept Christ and others to reject Christ (cf. 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). God has determined that those who confess faith and obey Christ will receive God’s blessings of grace. Those who are “in Christ” by faith start by being united with Christ in baptism. The apostle Paul explained in his letter to the Galatians, “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26–27; cf. Romans 6:3–4). To receive God’s blessings, then one must be in Christ.
As Christians, we have every spiritual blessing from God because we have been baptized into Christ and we live by faith. Let us continue to live faithfully in Christ. Let us thank God as Paul declared, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:3).
Saturday, August 28 2021
John the Baptizer baptized Jesus in the Jordan River (Mark 1:9–11). Jesus’s disciples baptized by Jesus’s instruction (John 4:1–2). John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; Acts 19:3–5). When Jesus resurrected from the dead, He commanded baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to become a disciple of Christ (Matthew 28:19–20). Peter preached and commanded this baptism when the apostles received the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. Peter instructed, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38 ESV). This must be the “one baptism” that Paul noted in Ephesians 4:5.
Baptism is not sprinkling or pouring of water in the Bible. Baptism in Jesus’s name is a burial as Jesus commanded (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12). Baptism comes from the Greek word in the Bible meaning “immersion,” and baptism needs much water (John 3:23). The apostle Paul explained that baptism unites the repentant believer with Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3–4; cf. Galatians 3:27). The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is the gospel that saves Christians from death and separation from God by their sins (1 Corinthians 15:1–4). Both Peter and Paul taught that baptism is when God does the work of forgiving sins (Acts 2:38; Colossians 2:12–13).
Why would Jesus command baptism in water? Water has always been associated with cleansing, so baptism is symbolic of God’s spiritual work. However, baptism is no mere bath to clean the body but it is an appeal and a call to God for a clear conscience and forgiveness of sin (Acts 22:16). Peter taught, “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21). Evidently, baptism is essential to salvation and the moment that God forgives sins.
Thank God that He forgives our rebellion and degrading of others. “All have sinned fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23; 5:12). The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Jesus died for us and overcame the consequence of death due to everyone when He resurrected (Romans 6:9–10). Jesus brought peace and overcame the consequence of sin (Romans 3:23–26; 4:22–25).
Sunday, May 23 2021
Because God is not far from anyone, no one has an excuse for not knowing God. Believers should not think that people are in a fair or neutral condition when they do not know God, because they are overlooking God who created everything and gave them life, breath, and everything. They do not know God because they do not seek God. The Bible explains this with sound reasoning.
"God is not far from each one of us" comes from the apostle Paul's speech in Athens at Mars Hill, the Areopagus (Acts 17:27). The apostle Paul spoke by reasoning from an inscription to the "unknown God" that the Athenians admitted not to know God by their worship of the unknown God (17:22–23). Paul taught the God whom they did not know. The apostle built on the truth that God who made everything does not need anything from man (17:24–25a). God gives life, breath, and everything to humanity (17:25b). God has made every nation and ethnicity having determined their times and boundaries to seek Him and find Him because God is not far from anyone (17:26–27). Everyone can find God because God is not far from anyone (17:27b).
God is not far from His offspring, humanity, whom He created (Acts 17:28). Furthermore, God does not conform to the imaginations of men (17:29). Therefore, God no longer overlooks ignorance of who He is and commands all people to repent (17:30). God will judge the world by righteousness that is by a man (17:31). God has given assurance of this by resurrecting that man from the dead (17:31).
The apostle Paul reasoned by the God who created everything. The apostle did not reason to God but by God. The apostle took the high ground on Mars Hill and transcended all other excuses and destroyed every stronghold raised against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:3–6). Paul did not start with evidence of God's existence because the evidence is found by those who sincerely seek and denied by those who do not seek. The God who created everything and gave humanity life, breath, and everything cannot be far from those made as His offspring in His likeness.
The Bible offers evidence of God for those seeking Him and not for those not seeking. God has made His attributes plain and clear for everyone to see (Romans 1:18–21; cf. Genesis 1:1). The evidence for God is apparent to those who will seek and accept what they find. The faithful see evidence of God everywhere (Psalm 16:11). God's existence is not the debate. God has given more than enough evidence but not so much to overcome one's choice to recognize and follow God.
Paul reasoned from God to Christ and His resurrection. The response to Paul's speech was mostly positive. Some mocked Paul's conclusion of Jesus's resurrection from the dead. Some wanted to hear more again. Some believed and joined Paul (Acts 17:32–34). Paul's reasoning was persuasive all over the world from nation to nation to whom he proclaimed God and the gospel of Christ. Christians would be foolish to overlook Paul’s reasoning and apply it today.
No adult can claim ignorance as an excuse for not knowing God. Paul's speech on Mars Hill gives wisdom on how to speak about God and Christ in a world denying God — an atheistic world, a pagan world, a new age world, a philosophical world. The wisdom of God from the apostle is to recognize that God is not far from anyone and to reason upon this essential truth. Christians always have an evangelism starter by talking about God, who gave everyone life, breath, and everything, so God is not far from anyone (Acts 17:27). For this, Paul instructed the faithful, "Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person" (Colossians 4:5–6).
Tuesday, March 09 2021
Does God’s grace have limits? Is God’s forgiving grace conditional upon one’s faith and obedience? The writer of Hebrews revealed, “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:26–27 ESV).
In contrast to what the Bible teaches, many claim, “Once saved, always saved,” which in other words means for many, “Once that I was saved by God’s grace, then I cannot fall from grace, so I can continue in sin that grace may abound.” Again, the biblical writer revealed that one can fall from grace when he wrote, “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace” (Galatians 5:4). Likewise, Galatians 5:19–21 gives a list of sins that "those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." Furthermore, the biblical writer observed, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1–2).
Many ask, “What joy and assurance can anyone have of God’s saving grace if someone can fall from grace?” The condition of God’s forgiveness is a living faith that produces repentance and obedience. When the faithful repent and are baptized, God does the work of forgiving sin and giving life to the faithful as Paul revealed in Colossians 2:12–13.
Grace is truly God's “unmerited favor,” but this does not imply as some believe that grace is “unconditional” forgiveness. Salvation is conditional upon continuing in the faith. Paul revealed that Jesus would present the faithful as holy and blameless before God “if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard” (Colossians 1:23a).
Does God give forgiveness to believers who neglect some of His commands? All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). Everyone needs God’s grace (Romans 3:24; 5:1–2). While no one is sinless other than Christ, God’s grace does not exempt believers from observing all that Jesus commanded. In Matthew 28:19–20, Jesus gave the commission to make disciples and instruct them to observe all things that Jesus commanded. Mature Christians should be able to teach all things having the Scriptures as an all-sufficient guide (2 Timothy 3:16–17).
What happens if we strive to observe everything Jesus instructed and yet sin? John wrote of the expanse and extent of God's forgiveness in 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Christians walk in the light when we live by God and His revelation as seen in 1 John 1:5. The word “if” in 1 John 1:7 shows that God's grace for forgiveness is conditional. Continuing in sin is walking in darkness as 1 John 1:6 says, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”
Does every act of sin separate the faithful from God’s forgiveness? Believers are not lost every time one sins. John wrote in verse 8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” and in verse 10, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” These passages reveal that God does not require sinless perfection when one becomes a Christian but God wants confession of sins. Furthermore, John taught, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Thank God for the great expanse of His forgiving grace. God forgives us of all our sins as we continue in the faith and confess our sins to God the Father. Let encourage one another everyday not to be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:12–13).
Thursday, March 04 2021
At death, the dead are separated from their bodies (James 2:26). The rebellious who ignore God pass through Hades into Hell, the Lake of Fire. The rebellious are in torment before Judgment Day, on Judgement Day, and after (Revelation 19:20; 20:10, 14-15; 21:8). They choose to separate themselves from God who is the source of all goodness and comfort, so they choose to endure eternal separation from God.
The difference on Judgement Day will be a change of bodily existence. On that day, Jesus taught that He will bodily resurrect the dead (John 5:28–29; 6:39–40). At Judgement, those who are rebellious and agnostic against God will resurrect bodily and be cast into the fire of Hell (Matthew 10:28; John 5:28–29; 2 Thessalonians 1:7–9). The resurrection of bodies is thus physical because physical means bodily. Hell will also become a physical reality for the people of those who rebelled and ignored God when they unite in bodies again.
When the faithful die, they enter into the peace of God in the afterlife. Jesus depicted angels taking Lazarus's spirit to the heavenly paradise (Luke 16:22). The faithful go to be with Christ who is in Heaven (Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8). Jesus is in Heaven at the right hand of God and not in another world of the dead (Acts 2:33–34; 5:31; 7:55–56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3, 12; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22; cf. Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:63).
On Judgement Day, the faithful will come to life again. The Holy Spirit will give life to the mortal bodies of the faithful (Romans 8:11). What kind of life? This is eternal life. Faithful Christians await the redemption of their bodies (Romans 8:23). That is the hope that Christians defend (Romans 8:24–25; 1 Peter 3:15). Paul promised that the faithful will transform from a lowly body to a glorious body like Jesus (Philippians 3:21). The apostle revealed, "And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power" (1 Corinthians 6:14; cf. 4:14). At the resurrection, bodies will rise and put on the immortal nature for eternal life. Paul taught, "For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality" (1 Corinthians 15:53). Despite what happens to one's remains, God will recreate and restore the bodies of the dead (Job 19:25–27; Isaiah 29:16; Revelation 20:13; cf. Ezekiel 37:1–14). Jesus resurrected as flesh and bones, yet He rose never to die as His body became immortal (Luke 24:39). He is the fullness of Deity bodily (Colossians 2:9). When Jesus resurrected, the bodies of saints resurrected, they came from the tombs, and they appeared to many (Matthew 27:52–53).
God's grace and judgment are just. Christians rejoice for the hope of the redemption of bodies to rise to immortality. Knowing the fear of the Lord, the faithful persuade others to turn to God (2 Corinthians 5:10–11). For the hope of the resurrection, believers unite in Jesus's death, burial, and resurrection through baptism in hope of resurrecting like Christ (Romans 6:3–5; Colossians 2:12–13). This is the hope that we defend (1 Peter 3:15).
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Every Wednesday night 7-8 PM, we have Bible lessons, crafts, games, and snacks for grades K-6.