Chapter 15

ANOTHER BENEFIT OF FAITH

WE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD

(Galatians 3:26-29)

Before we begin our study let us pray.

Dear Heavenly Father,

We come before You in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Father we thank You for saving us. We thank You for the faith You gave us in Your Son, Jesus Christ. Father, please help us to understand that because of our new birth we are now a child of Yours, a temple of the Holy Spirit and a citizen of Your Kingdom.

Amen

To begin our study let us read the following portion of the Apostle Paul's letter to the churches in Galatia,

Galatians 3:26-29

"[26] You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, [27] for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. [28] There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. [29] If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

To better grasp the significance of the above Scriptures let us review the spiritual blessings that God bestowed upon the born again believer in Jesus Christ.

To better appreciate the Grace we have received we begin by reviewing the position we, especially the Gentile, had prior to our faith in Jesus Christ.

OUR POSITION PRIOR TO OUR NEW BIRTH

The New Testament of the Bible teaches us that prior to being born again, whether we are Gentile or Jew,

WE WERE SPIRITUALLY DEAD AND UNDER GOD'S WRATH

To see this let us consider the following,

Ephesians 2:1-3

"[1] As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, [2] in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. [3] All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath."

Let us notice the following verses,

1 … We were dead in our transgressions and sins.

2… Prior to our new birth we followed the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air (Satan).

3 … Consequently, all (both Jew and Gentile) were objects of wrath.

As if the above state or position was not bad enough, those of us who are Gentiles were in even worse shape.

AS GENTILES WE WERE ALSO WITHOUT HOPE

To see this let us read from,

Ephesians 2:11-12

"[11] Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)-- [12] remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world."

Let us notice in particular the following verse,

12 … We must remember Israel was God’s chosen nation. It was to them that the promise and hope of the Messiah was given.

Consequently, our eternal destination was

THE LAKE OF FIRE

We find this to be the case when we read about the last great judgement in,

Revelation 20: 11-15

"[11] Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. [12] And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. [13] The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. [14] Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. [15] If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."

Let us notice the following verse,

15 … As an unbeliever our name is not written in the Book of Life. Hence, in that state we were destined to the Lake of Fire.

However, as we read the New Testament, we find that for the true born again believer in Jesus Christ, and especially for those who are not Jewish, the Old Testament positions and relationships are dramatically changed. To better appreciate this let us now explore,

THE POSITION OF THE BORN AGAIN BELIEVER

As we read the New Testament we discover that when a person becomes a born again believer in Jesus Christ a miraculous and dramatic change occurs in their life.

First of all the Bible teaches us that the born again believer is no longer spiritually dead. Their previous condition has changed for they have been

MADE ALIVE IN CHRIST

This truth is described for us in,

Ephesians 2:4-10

"[4] But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, [5] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. [6] And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, [7] in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. [8] For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- [9] not by works, so that no one can boast. [10] For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

For this study, let us notice the following verses,

5 … We are no longer dead but are alive with Christ.

6 …We are now seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realms. Notice, this is not future but present tense. As we will see later in this chapter this means we are now citizens of Heaven!

8-9 … It is by His Grace, that is unmerited favor, we have been saved. It was nothing we earned, it is God's free gift to you and I.

In other words, the born again believer in Jesus Christ is a,

NEW CREATURE, THAT IS A NEW PERSON

To see this let us read from,

Ephesians 2:13-18

"[13] But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. [14] For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, [15] by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, [16] and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. [17] He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. [18] For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit."

Let us notice the following verses,

13 … Through the Blood of Jesus Christ we have been brought near.

15 … His purpose was to create in Himself a new man out of the two, that is the born again believer. Therefore, there should no longer be any hostility between the born again Jew and the born again Gentile. In Jesus Christ, all born again believers are one; we are all God’s chosen.

Thus, "Anyone (Jew or Gentile) who is in Christ Jesus is a new creature; the old has gone, the new has come." (2 Corinthians 7:17) To see this a bit more clearly, let us read from,

Galatians 3:26-28

"[26] You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, [27] for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. [28] There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

In addition to being a new creation, the Bible also teaches us that,

WE ARE A TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

To see this, let us read a warning that was written to those who would destroy or, as some translations read, defile a born again believer in Jesus Christ. This warning is given in,

1 Corinthians 3:16-17

"[16] Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? [17] If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple."

Let us notice the following verses,

16 … You, the born again believer, are God’s temple and God the Holy Spirit lives in you!

17 … God’s temple is sacred and you are that temple!

Let us pause for a moment and consider what we just read. Specifically, prior to our new birth we were spiritually dead and destined for the Lake of Fire. But now, through faith in Jesus Christ, we are not only alive and transformed into a new person but are also a sacred temple for God the Holy Spirit. Can we ever thank God enough for such a blessing and privilege?

But there is more, for the Bible also teaches us that since the Holy Spirit, that is the divine nature, dwells within us, then,

WE ARE A CHILD OF GOD

To strengthen our faith and belief that you and I as a born again believer are children of God, let us first read what the Holy Spirit wrote, through the Apostle John, in,

1 John 3:1-2

"[1] How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. [2] Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is."

In addition to what is written in the Bible, we also find that the Holy Spirit Himself bears witness to our spirit that we, that is you and I, the born again believer, are God's children. This truth is recorded for us in,

Romans 8:16

"[16] The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children."

As a child of God, the Bible teaches us that,

WE ARE SEALED AS GOD'S CHOSEN

In other words we have become God's possession. This glorious blessing is clearly taught to us by reading from,

2 Corinthians 1:21-22

"[21] Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, [22] set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come."

We also find this promise given to us in,

Ephesians 1:13-14

"[13] And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, [14] who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory."

Let us notice the following verses,

13 … When we believed, that is when we were born again, God placed His mark of ownership within us. This mark of ownership is the promised Holy Spirit.

14 … He, the Holy Spirit, came as a deposit to guarantee our inheritance.

Question: What is this inheritance that the Scripture talks about?

The answer to this question is that the born again believer in Jesus Christ

HAVE AN INHERITANCE IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Let us expand upon this a bit by reading what Jesus told His disciples when He was preparing them for His return to Heaven.

John 14:1-3

""[1] Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God ; trust also in me. [2] In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. [3] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."

Hence, we discover that we have an inheritance waiting for us in Heaven. To see this let us read from,

1 Peter 1:3-5

"[3] Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [4] and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, [5] who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time."

Let us notice the following verses,

3 … Because of God’s great mercy, He has given us a new birth through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

4 … In other words, we have been born into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade away. This inheritance is in Heaven and is being kept by God for you!

5 … It is through our faith in God that He shields and protects us until the appointed time arrives for you and I to receive our inheritance.

As we continue our reading of the New Testament we discover that not only do we have an inheritance in Heaven but

GOD HAS ALSO MADE US CITIZENS OF HEAVEN

As we reflect upon all the incredible blessings that God has bestowed upon us and our new position (relationship) with Him, we come to realize that our position or standing here upon earth has also changed. In fact, as a child of God, with an inheritance in Heaven, we find that we no longer belong to the kingdoms and governments of this world. True, we are physically here upon earth in subjection to their rulers and authority, when it does not conflict with God’s will. But our citizenship is now in Heaven. We find ourselves in a similar position as Jesus. He too was physically here upon earth and under subjection to its rulers and authorities and yet clearly His citizenship was in Heaven. In fact, this is exactly what Jesus said to Pontus Pilate.

John 18:36

"[18] Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.""

For us to more clearly understand that the kingdom we now belong to is not of this world, let us begin by reading from,

Colossians 1:13-14

"[13] For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, [14] in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

To receive a clearer understanding of these verses, let us read them as translated in the "New King James" version of the Bible:

"He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins."

We know this means that we are no longer under the authority of the evil one, but how does this relate to the earthly kingdoms and governments? To see this relationship let us read what the Apostle John wrote concerning who was granted temporary control of this world's system in,

1 John 5:19

"[19] We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one."

Thus as a child of God, we find that

WE ARE PILGRIMS, STRANGERS AND ALIENS IN THIS WORLD

To see this, let us notice how the Holy Spirit, through Peter, addresses God's children in,

1 Peter 1:1-2

"[1] Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, [2] who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance."

To bring this truth closer to home insert the name of the city you live in place of Bithynia.

So that there be no mistake about the fact that we are now foreigners to this world’s system, let us read the following exhortation to abstain from sinful desires,

1 Peter 2:11-12

"[11] Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. [12] Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us."

Let us notice the following verses,

11 … Again, the Holy Spirit addresses us aliens and strangers in the world.

12 … We are instructed to live good lives among the pagans, that is the non believers. We do this not to earn praises from others but we do this so that God, our Father, would receive honor and praise.

Now that we are strangers and aliens to this world, we find that

WE ARE NO LONGER STRANGERS OR ALIENS IN GOD'S HOUSEHOLD

To see this let us read from,

Ephesians 2:19-22

"[19] Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, [20] built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. [21] In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. [22] And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit."

Notice, as a child of God we are fellow citizens of God’s people and members of God’s household. In other words, we belong to the family of God and people such as Moses, Abraham, Isaiah, Elijah, John the Baptist, the Apostles are now our relatives!

Consequently, we find that

OUR CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN

This is clearly revealed to us in,

Philippians 3:20-21

"[20] But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, [21] who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."

SUMMARY

In reflecting upon all that we have covered in this chapter we come to realize that as a result of faith in Jesus Christ and all that He has done for us, our position with respect to this world's system and God's Household has undergone an incredible and glorious change. To summarize all that has happened to us, the born again believer, let us read from,

Ephesians 2:1-22

"[1] As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, [2] in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. [3] All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. [4] But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, [5] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. [6] And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, [7] in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. [8] For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- [9] not by works, so that no one can boast. [10] For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. [11] Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)-- [12] remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. [13] But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. [14] For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, [15] by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, [16] and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. [17] He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. [18] For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. [19] Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, [20] built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. [21] In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. [22] And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit."

CLOSING

Let us close our study by reading the following Psalm.

Psalm 103:1-22

"[1] Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. [2] Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-- [3] who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, [4] who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, [5] who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. [6] The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. [7] He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: [8] The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. [9] He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; [10] he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. [11] For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; [12] as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. [13] As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; [14] for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. [15] As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; [16] the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. [17] But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children-- [18] with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. [19] The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. [20] Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. [21] Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. [22] Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, O my soul."

Amen

Home (Study)

Contents

Comments