mercredi 18 janvier 2017

Blessings, Spiritual Walk and the Kingdom

A) Unnecessary Distinctions, They are both biblically acceptable!

I am not dogmatic when it comes to some Christian practices. I don't mind when someone tells me, "God bless you" or "Stay blessed" when they wish me well. I sometimes return the blessing in that same format. My problem arises when someone tries to make me choose one of those two statements namely "Stay Blessed" as being the only appropriate way to speak. 

Some seem to have just discovered a great truth about our spiritual position in Christ (Ephesians1:3) and think that this should be the only truth to be believed at the exclusion of all other biblical truths. The reason goes a bit like this, if we are already blessed then there is no more reason to ask for more blessing. Hence the only acceptable way to speak will have to put the blessing in the past tense hence 'Stay blessed'.

Ephesian 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ; 

St. Peter in 1 Peter 1:2 tells us that Grace and peace can be multiplied. This means that a person can have more of these two blessings (grace and peace) which also implies that a person can have less of them as well. And how can a person get more grace? multiplied grace? Peter says it is through the knowledge of God and Jesus that Grace upon ones life can be increased or multiplied. 

"Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord" - 1Peter1:2. 

Hence someone who wish you well by these formula, "Stay blessed" or "God bless you" are both biblically correct. The first one in the past tense, 'Stay blessed', emphasize the truth found in the epistle of Ephesians while the second one, "God bless you", reflect the continuous experience of receiving more blessings as found in the epistle of Peter. Don't let any one cage you or force you in choosing either way of formulating your blessings!

B) Effort and Diligence in our Spiritual Walk

2 Peter1:10, "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:"

St. Peter an old disciple have seen all just like the apostle Paul. People who started in faith and fell away from grace (Galatians 5:4), other who had started their walk with the Lord by faith but never went far because they loved the world more (2 Timothy 4:10). Knowing all these, he pressed the Christian community to make sure and make all effort and be diligent to add godly attributes to their faith (2Pete1:5-7) in order to make their grace given election and calling certain and firm. The logical conclusion from what the apostle Peter is saying is that by lacking in those godly attributes, it will make their election less firm due to their unfruitfulness (2Peter1:9). However, He even promise the Christian community to whom he was writing that by so doing, meaning practicing and incorporating godly attributes to their faith life, they will never fall (2Peter1:10). 

This is a blessed assurance from one of Jesus original apostle himself. A good advise to shout out to all churches in contemporary time and particularly to those movement who could care less about adding to their faith virtues, knowledge and other godly attributes because they don't understand that the grace of God doesn't remove our responsibility to aspire to spiritual growth.

C) The Kingdom of God belong to the Overcomers

From a New Testament perspective, there is a different between the Kingdom of God and Eternal Life. There is a difference between the Kingdom of God and Salvation. It is important to point this out before I proceed discussing below about taking hold of the Kingdom of God before I hear the typical objections about receiving salvation by grace, freely. I agree about salvation being given to us freely (Ephesian 2:8) but this is no the topic I am discussing about below.

2 Peter1:11, "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

St. Peter is encouraging and reminding believers that by so doing their entrance (which could very well means their call and election they had already received initially when they started believing) into the kingdom of God will be abundantly given to them. God will not deny them to experience what they had been promise if they keep their faith by adding to their faith virtues, knowledge and other godly attributes.

2Peter1:5 (ISV), 'For this very reason, you must make every effort to supplement your faith with moral character, your moral character with knowledge

St. John also heard Jesus warning believers in the Asian Churches with similar saying, reminding them that reigning with Christ (Kingdom of Christ) is not about dead faith which has no deeds/works, but it is about having an active faith. The Kingdom is for the overcomes and that is the themes of the Lord Jesus messages to the 7 Churches in Asia. Read for yourself below how He will give and reward loyalty of those who persevere with the Kingdom:

Rev3:11   " Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."

Rev3: 21 " To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne."

Rev2:26-27  " And He that overcomes, and keep my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And He shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father."

This is biblical Christianity, not man-made Christianity! 

Biblical Christianity encourages believers to be faithful and active, to be "diligence, not slothful, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord" (Romans12:11) and to be overcomers (Romans12:21). 

However, man-made Christianity requires believers to do nothing because they do not understand what Jesus meant when He said on the cross 'It is finished". They entertain laziness and spiritual unproductivity because they don't understand the Grace of God they like to speak of out of biblical context. That is why many have been conquered by evil instead of overcoming evil (Roman12:11) and they rejoice in sin by refusing to confess their sins because they do not understand the doctrine of repentance of sins (Revelation 2:21) nor do they experience or value the biblical blessing on forgiveness of sins by the blood of Jesus (1John1:9; 1John2:1-2), that is why they are easily overcome by evil and continuously weakening their election (2Peter1:10).

                  Romans 12:21 says, "Do not let evil overcome you, but overcome evil by good".  

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