(A Balanced Faith)
REDEMPTION WAY about Heaven; salvation (gospel); eternal life; blessing; our course; judgments; the Lord's sacrifice, reign, kingdom, glory and purposes; etc. CHURCH TRUTH about baptism; the gathering of believers; the collective testimony; obedience; a Godly path; the Lord's glory and honor; etc. SPIRITUAL LIFE about worship; the love of God; devotion; maturity in faith; trials; peace and joy; holiness; communion; charity, service; the Lord's glory and praise; etc. GENERAL MINISTRY about the Creator-God; Trinity; Bible overview; God's plan; Bible subjects; the OT & NT; Christianity; sects and cults; God's honor; etc.
Site updated on: April 30, 2019
Established 2000 A.D.
Holding forth the Word of life - Phil. 2:16
Holding fast the
faithful Word - Titus 1:9
See thoughts about God's recovery of church truth for His testimony and our pathway as believers, from that revival of 1827 AD shown herein
May God bless this site
to all readers
May Edition, 2019 www.biblecounsel.net or www.biblecounsel.homestead.com Scriptural Newsletter
WELCOME HERE FRIENDS! It is hoped you will find this site to be very helpful. All questions and comments are welcome and held confidential (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). This web site is non-sectarian ministry to encourage the reading of God's Word, and for serious seeking after truth. It values God's work of revival in the early 1800's, with which it is associated, and urges readers to learn about it (see Church Truth page and Feature pages above). It is always the desire and hope here to obey and honor our Lord, and encourage and seek the spiritual welfare of all people. WE NEED TO SERVE AS "ONE BODY" IN CHRIST (note 1 Cor. 12:25)! No thought here is to condemn personal faith, for each one must look to God in their personal life, but this speaks to spiritual life and the holy gospel truth by Bible-only; and what God has intended for His collective testimony in this world. We need "all the counsel of God".
Everyone may participate in the ministry of this web site, by telling their friends to visit here. We hope all will find some ministry to help, and perhaps a nice challenge for their faith. Surely "the time is short", as God says, and surely we need to also "be about (our) Father's business". See the message and testimony at Site Manager Page. The writer does not have all answers, but will be glad to share what has been learned over many years. Questions and contrary views in a helpful way are appreciated.
Papers and comments here are changed periodically, and are personal convictions. Serious seekers after church testimony might well see Christian Assembly pages: F4 & F5. There are many pages for help and encouragement --- SEE INDEX ABOVE FOR A BIBLE STUDY --F8. The manager may not have answers for all questions, but is glad to share what he has and be of some help. He is not perfect and revisions and updates seem needed at times to clarify thoughts, so one might note the revision date on any papers they wish to copy (set your print margins at .25). Any copies made should not be altered or taken out of context.
DOES THIS DESCRIBE YOU?
A true and faithful believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, will walk with Him and talk with Him daily, until that day when one can see Him and be with Him forever in the Father's house in Heaven. - RLD, 12/09
THOUGHTS ON THE REDEMPTION PROCESS
Historically it is the finished work of Jesus, "the Christ of God" (Luke 9:20), who died on the Cross at Golgotha (a.k.a Calvary) and His resurrection, that provides redemption hope for fallen man, and it is our thankful receiving Him spiritually and personally that makes it good to our own soul (see Rom. 3:20-26; Rom.10:1-10; 1 Jn. 5:10-12). We each need this RELATION-SHIP and eternal hope, which is yet available.
Generally when a proven faithful believer in Christ speaks of being "saved" or "born of God", they are referring to a real work and a finished work by God to save their eternal soul, from the certain Hell-fire judgment to come after one leaves this world. This is what gives them a new life as a "child of God" (Acts 4:10-12; Rom. 8:16; Gal. 3:26; I Jn 5:1; etc). It is of no apparent consequence that one does not fully comprehend the spiritual process, but upon seeing God's "quickening" to awaken or make alive our soul unto God, we ought to then proceed to RECEIVE the Savior ---Jesus Christ, into our heart. We need to respond by faith in worship of Him which brings the new birth (note John 3) ---which is by the Holy Spirit entering the soul (note 1 Jn. 4:13; 1 Jn. 5:10-13, and Eph. 3:17-19); and thus SEALING that one forever to God. This goes beyond simple professers of Christianity, who only try somewhat to act like true saints of God by following some Christian teachings.
Some of us can see something of the process in our lives. It was not just a belief, but a living relationship by the grace of God. We must admit that it was "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us" (Titus 3:5). We cannot give ourselves life in this world nor for eternity. Logic shows us and experience confirms what the Word of God says.
To give help to the understanding of the process the use of some terms are set forth herein for consideration. Down through church history there has been some debate over these, but one should not go about reasoning over them, but study the "Word of God". Christians might disagree on some, but should not press these subjects according to their belief and thus cause strife; though God’s Assemblies must always know and hold essential truth. We should only offer this as general ministry and state it is our understanding of the "Word of Truth". Some thoughts here are from esteemed Bible scholars:
1. SAINT is shown in God's Word as a true "holy" and "godly" one, and in the New Testament means SANCTIFIED one; and they are "a distinct, recognized class of persons belonging to God" (Concise Bible Dictionary). They are reconciled to our Creator-God, and shown in O.T. and N.T. times as true believers SET APART for God; and today in the Church are those BORN OF THE SPIRIT, members of Christ's body --called "the bride". Because a believer is "saved" from judgment and for Heaven ---sanctified, he ought to also sanctify himself (I Pet.3:15), which speaks in this age both of our STANDING in Christ and also our STATE of soul. One should note that the Israelite Saints of olden times who died, were kept ---as in "Abraham's bosum" (Luke 16:22-26; Eph. 4:8-10): a partitioned safe holding place in Hades ---as God's earthly people, until the Lord Jesus came and raised them to "Paradise" (presumably a special place in Heaven). They were not part of the present Bride, which today is heavenly by the NEW BIRTH (John 3); and we see Israelites today MUST now come on the same ground in faith as Gentiles or will have no part in God. They will, like all other non-believers in Jesus Christ, die in their sins and face the Hell-fire in spite of their religious efforts, if they are not "born again".
2. CHILD OF GOD is the more comprehensive reference in the New Testament to one who is brought out of the sinful bondage from birth, and is now a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ; and both BORN of the Spirit (John 3:16) and ADOPTED (purchased through the Cross --Gal.4:5; Eph. 1:5 as a member of God's family (Rom.8:16; Gal.3:26). Adoption is another way God shows how a child of God belongs to Him. It says that legally (by ownership) we are His possession (Gal.4:4-7).
3. ELECT simply refers to God's "FOREKNOWLEDGE" of what will happen and what we will do, and are those who have thus been chosen and preserved by God for His holy purposes (John 15:16; Eph. 1:3-5; etc.). One might do well to show sincere desire and appreciation as God looks upon honest seekers, and take note that the new birth is God’s prerogative, and He has set the acceptable terms as in the Gospels and Epistles of our Holy Bible. God says: "all souls are mine" (Ezek.18:4). We know He elects (owns) some, seeks and saves, and redeems them , but ONLY those who bow to Him in faith (who open the heart door) as He ordains (John 3:16 & 35-36); etc.
4. DISCIPLE means a follower and student, and to sit under the discipline or teaching of another. It was true of the many who were attracted to Jesus as He taught them, and as the church was being established, but is not spoken of true believers after the church was formed, who are more than followers and students, and are "saints of God" (set apart); and one not yet saved for eternity might do well to continue seeking to know God and pray for His help to know His "...so great salvation" (Heb. 2:3; Acts 4:12; Eph. 1:13). REPENTANCE is a major step in progress for man to be conformed to the Gospel of salvation; and is simply “taking sides with God against yourself”, as one has said. It literally means “a change and turning”, and for a believer it means from sinful self to God, and involves confession of our sinful nature and failures before God. We need to repent to our Holy Creator-God and receive His "great salvation" in His "...beloved Son" (Matt. 17:5; Mk. 1:11; Lk. 9:35; 2 Pet. 1:17; and note John 14:6). It is noted in Genesis 6:6 that God repented over man’s sin, meaning that HE TURNED from His blessings and brought down judgment on mankind; and He did feel sorrow (not regret) that he must do that. This shows the foreknowledge of God that man would fail the test when tempted by Satan, but God knew this was necessary, that mankind should have opportunity and learn in time how important it is to obey, honor, and trust his Creator.
5. CHRISTIAN literally means "of Christ" or "Christ's one", but is a broad term and is what followers of Christ were called by the world (Acts 11:26). Today it might mean in usage only as followers and professors of Christianity (as seen in general christendom), or as the FAITHFUL BELIEVERS IN CHRIST. Until one shows real evidence of the NEW BIRTH, we might refer to them simply as Disciples ---professors of Christ, etc.
6. QUICKENING means to be made alive/aware of the Creator-God --a spiritual awakening (Psa.80:17-18; John 6:63). J. N. Darby said: "A desire after holiness would be one evidence of a quickened soul" (CW Vol.28 p.369). He added: "The O.T saints were subjects of this quickening power of the Spirit, but the indwelling of the Holy Ghost could not be till Jesus was glorified" (CW Vol.26p.89). In Acts 8:12-16, and also with Cornelius in Acts 10, we see those who were first awakened to God, then later born of the Spirit. Some references in the N.T. seem to speak of the full work of quickening and new birth together (e.g. Eph.2:5), and others only to this spiritual awakening. Man cannot make himself be “born again”. It should be added here that whenever souls have a desire to obey and please God, they ought to be baptized as given by God’s Word, though it is not salvation; but it speaks of sincerely taking a place with Christ against the unbelieving world; and that affords some mercies and care of God in this world. May the whole world at least see their need and be baptized unto Christ.
7. REGENERATION as noted in Titus 3:5 is much debated, and "is not the same as being born again", according to J. N. Darby (CW Vol.28 p.369). He said it is often "confounded with having life" (CW Vol.28 p.368). He believed "It is more connected with salvation than quickening" (CW Vol.28p.369). The use in Titus 3:5 also has been described by some as sincere profession ---Kingdom of Heaven, but not the Kingdom of God. Regeneration translated from the Greek word is "Messianic restoration" (profession of the truth of Christ as the hope of mankind ---and presumably acknowledged by baptism); and the "renewing of the Holy Spirit" then seems to some Bible scholars as the second part of redemption here as a new life by the indwelling and sealing of the Holy Spirit ---full salvation.
8. NEW BIRTH (born of the Spirit) can be a difficult experience to understand, but the Word of God shows it is eternal life since the advent of Christ (John 3:5-8). Man was born once into the world, but needs to be "born again" in the Spirit ---an intimate RELATIONSHIP. The O.T. saints were quickened (awakened) and had hope eternal and the blessings through the sacrifices, but we are not told they were born of the Spirit or "born again" --only that the Spirit came upon one or rested on one for a work and purpose at a time. Today, "Whosoever CONTINUES to believe (and trust) that Jesus is the Christ is born of God" (I John 5:1). In the O.T. they had no understanding of Jesus (see John 14:6). It appears the faithful saints of old waited in "Abraham's bosom" when they died (see Luke 16:19-31; Eph.4:8-10) ---Hades: a holding place. See also Philippians 1:6, which assures that God will finish the work He begins in a soul. It seems to have been imputed to Old Testament saints when the Lord Jesus descended into Hades after His death and took "captivity captive" (see Eph. 4:8-10; 1 Pet. 3:19), which some believe was the fulfillment of salvation for them, being a newness of life in knowing Him ---passing from death to life. In any case we don’t see the saints of the O.T. as part of the "Bride" ---the Church, which today is only all those who come by FAITH in the Lord Jesus and RECEIVE Him, rather than SEEING Him (John 14:6). They are saved for eternity in Heaven and kept from "damnation" in Hell, and in some references means preserved through various circumstances. Redeemed means bought back that which was lost, and speaks of the finished work in our soul; and according to Darby means: "deliverance out of the state I was in, and bringing me into another and a free one" (CW Vol. 10 p.325). It is the result of Christ's redemptive work on the cross, when applied to the believer.
Some believers teach that the O.T saints were "born again", but then admit that they could not have the indwelling Spirit until the day of Pentecost. That seems to be an error. They confuse quickening with the new birth. When a person is born they don't get life at a later time. They are either born or not born (John 1:13; John 3:6; I John 3:9). There is often a time, however, between quickening and the Spiritual birth (awakening-arousal, and the full faith). There was belief and hope before Christ came, and afterward there has been belief and hope in Christ, but not a new birth until one is brought by the Holy Spirit to truly see (believe) that Jesus is the Christ--our life.
The Concise Bible Dictionary makes a distinction between new birth and quickening by saying the latter implies "...a making alive in view of an order of things and a state different from that in which the one quickened had lived previously." Quickening seems more an AWAKENING to God by circumstances and workings of God to get ones attention! To be 'born again' speaks of SEALING (surety) with the indwelling Holy Spirit (see II Cor.1: 21-22; Eph.1:12-14). It is promise and security to the true believer.
As mentioned before, in some scriptural references the new birth is described fully ---in both quickening to God and the new life together, but we might want to understand the process so as to not assume the finished work when one merely professes faith. The esteemed Theologian, J. N. Darby stated (CW Vol. 21, p.122): "In sinning man got his conscience, and was ruined in getting it, because it was a bad one. Consequently he was afraid of the God he wished to be like (as was Israel). He lost innocence, and we never regain it, but we (believers today) are renewed after the second Adam' (Christ)". Darby added: "The O.T saints were subjects of the quickening power of the Spirit, but the indwelling of the Holy Ghost could not be till Jesus was glorified" (CW Vol.26p.89).
In the CW Vol.10 p.188-198 under the title of The New Birth, Darby speaks of Nicodemus thus: "(Jesus) did not teach flesh, nor had He come to do so. God was setting up a kingdom of His own. To see this, a man must be born again, completely anew". He added: 'Marvel not (said the Lord to Nicodemus) that I said unto thee, ye (Jews) must be born again'. Prior to this they did not have such an experience. Further, he said: "This is life then (being born of God) as possessed by the Christian, now that Christ has died, and become, as risen, his life". Further in CW Vol.21 p.121-6 he says: "Christ, we may observe, speaks to Nicodemus about the things that he, as a Jew, ought to have understood (compare Ezekiel 36)"; adding: "In the latter day they (Israel) must be sprinkled with water, and have a new heart from the Spirit, before they can inherit. This Nicodemus should have known" (Heb. 9:19 & 10:22). Faithful Israelites looked forward to Christ, and faithful Christians look back (and up) to Christ in the new life (see also the distinction in Gal.4:4-7). The law of olden time was our 'schoolmaster' to bring us to Christ for life. J.N. Darby stated in CW Vol.23p.299: "We are born afresh;" 'of His own will begat He us by the Word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures'. This is the bride of Christ."
In actual practice the believer does not fully know when the mysterious works of God occur, but our ignorance does not negate the result or fact of His work. We simply respond, believe and give thanks daily as we see what He has done for and in us. --R.L.D.
ADDENDUM: The writer suggests the following scenario as a picture of a true believer (though a feeble comparison): One might say he has heard from several sources about the greatness of his NEIGHBOR: (knowledge ---like the gospel message of salvation); and, later he hears more and sees things which stirs interest (desire to know the truth ---like quickening as awakening by the Spirit of God). One then gains understanding (and is convinced it is so and takes steps to have a meeting ---like re-generation which is as the activity and moving of the soul toward God as John 9:31-36). Finally he has a meeting with the man and soon becomes personally and happily acquainted ---(like a relationship by the new birth and sealing by the Holy Spirit). Going on in fellowship with him ---like walking in the Spirit) brings the benefits of the relationship". - R.L.D. 4/95; rev. 03/19