Speaking with Wisdom from Knowledge

“He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.”  Proverbs 17:27

“And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.”  Acts 6:10

In the fifty five years that I have been a born again believer in Jesus Christ I have learned this one thing; “The more I know, the more I realize that I do not know”.

I pray that I will increase in wisdom, knowledge, and understanding and that all those who are born again through the blood of Jesus Christ have the same.

I pray that when we speak that we speak with wisdom and grace. That we will realize that all who hear us when we speak with the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding in the grace and mercy of God through the Spirit of God will be recognized as being from God; but that some will hate us for it. Yet some will receive it and lives will be changed.

Join with me in praying daily for the filling of the Holy Spirit.

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 091920

“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that Thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.’ Jesus answered and said unto him,
‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’
Nicodemus saith unto Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?’ Jesus answered,
‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, ‘Ye must be born again.’  The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.’
Nicodemus answered and said unto Him, ‘How can these things be?’  Jesus answered and said unto him,
‘Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.  If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.’
”  John 3:1-15  (KJB)

In Demonstration Of The Spirit And Power

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.                                                                                                 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (KJB)

Arise

“And He put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, ‘Maid, arise.’ ” Luke 8:54 (KJB)

A young girl who was sick and dying, of the age of twelve. A woman who had had a medical problem of losing blood for twelve years (Luke 8:42, 43). I am not sure of any significance in the years.

There is certainly significance in the Healer.  The woman touches Jesus as He comes through a crowd of people. She reaches out and touches the “border of His garment”, and the blood flow is stopped. She is healed in a moment by the Great Physician. What physicians could not do in twelve years; just one touch of the border of Jesus’s garment, and she is made whole.

Before Jesus gets to the twelve year old girl to heal her, she dies. He makes a statement that the people around her laugh about;

“And all wept, and bewailed her: but He said, ‘Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.’” v. 52

Because of the unbelief He faces He put the mockers out. Jesus takes her by the hand and speaks the words, “Maid, arise” and her spirit, her soul, her life returned to her. She sat up, and Jesus told them to give her something to eat.

The Son of God, the Son of Man, God the Son cares for the lives of people. Yesterday we witnessed in the Word that He raised a widow’s son. Today He heals a woman with a blood issue for twelve years simply by her touch of faith; and he raises a twelve year old girl to life again.

He cares for you. He cared all the way to the cross to die for your sins, and took them upon Himself receiving His Father’s wrath, was buried, and He rose again; and He forever lives. Call on His name. He hears. He saves; and in saving He heals, and raises what was dead to life.

Evidence Given Us From God

“This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.  For there are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.  And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which He hath testified of His Son.

He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son.  And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” 1 John 5:6-12 (KJB)

From the Geneva Bible Translation Notes for 1 John 5:6…

“(8) This is he that came by water and blood, [even] Jesus Christ; (9) not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the (g) Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

(8) He proves the excellency of Christ, in whom only all things are given us by six witnesses, three heavenly, and three earthly, who wholly and completely agree together. The heavenly witnesses are, the Father who sent the Son, the Word itself, which became flesh, and the Holy Spirit. The earthly witnesses are water, (that is our sanctification) blood, (that is, our justification) the Spirit, (that is, acknowledging of God the Father in Christ by faith) through the testimony of the Holy Spirit. (9) He warns us not to separate water from blood (that is sanctification from justification, or righteousness, begun from righteousness imputed) for we do not stand on sanctification, but so far as it is a witness of Christ’s righteousness imputed to us: and although this imputation of Christ’s righteousness is never separated from sanctification, yet it is the only matter of our salvation.

(g) Our spirit which is the third witness, testifies that the holy Sprit is truth, that is to say, that that is true which he tells us, that is, that we are the sons of God.” Geneva Bible Translation Notes

 

Longing for the Redemption of the Body

“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.”  Romans 8:22-23  (KJB)

Only a believer, a born again Christian who is knowledgeable of Jesus Christ, our sin, and the word of God could begin to understand these verses.

The soul of the Christian man, or woman is redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; the Lord Jesus Christ.  We are made new in spirit by the power of the Holy Spirit who comes to live within us, changing us, making us more and more into the image of Christ Jesus.

With our soul redeemed, and the presence of the Holy Spirit; Christ in us; then we have the hope of eternal life for our bodies as well.  Even when these bodies die, the believer’s body will be raised a new body (1 Corinthians 15:35-57).

With the sin of man came also chaos in the rest of the created order. Earthquakes, storms, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, tidal waves, savage animals; you get the picture.  Sickness, and disease came on mankind.  The worst part of sin was there was no more fellowship with God; no relationship with God.

God sent His Son Jesus to redeem man to Himself.  The soul of man, through faith in Christ Jesus and His finished work on the cross, is redeemed unto God.  Our body in the meanwhile is longing for the redemption of the body.  That will be complete when our bodies are made new at the resurrection of the Just.  Every Christian has a great desire for this; looks forward to it; longs in groans even for it.  How about you?

Verse 22 even tells us that “the whole creation groans” and is groaning for redemption. One day all of creation will be made new because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.

Let me close with commentary from the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary…

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now — If for man’s sake alone the earth was cursed, it cannot surprise us that it should share in his recovery. And if so, to represent it as sympathizing with man’s miseries, and as looking forward to his complete redemption as the period of its own emancipation from its present sin-blighted condition, is a beautiful thought, and in harmony with the general teaching of Scripture on the subject. (See on 2Pe_3:13)

A Stirred Spirit

It has been a few days since I share a study with you other than a reblog by brother Wally Fry.  I appreciate the studies which Wally shares with his readers.

I have been away from a good source for an internet connection, with one exception for poor cell phone service for my smart phone; and I find it very difficult to do anything in the way of posting anything on the sites here. I have been away serving as a camp cook/kitchen helper at our Associations Children’s Camp. I will endeavor to get back to serving my readers, and pray God will speak to all who come here. For today…

“Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.  Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.” Acts 17:16-17 (KJB)

The apostle Paul was in a city of Greece, very familiar with many people even in 2019.  The city of Athens.  He witnessed many forms of worship.  It was all to idols.  His spirit (not the Holy Spirit though I believe that his spirit was stirred by the Holy Spirit) was stirred or provoked to not just sit there.

Many times we as Christians just accept the way things are rather than confront the issue of idolatry.  Someone might say, “There is no idolatry in our day”.  Maybe we ought to think again there.  There are many who adore, follow, even worship science.  Others do the same for the technological advances that have been made in the past few years.  There are others who are absorbed by Money and finance.  There are also those who relish the thought and idea of a Global government.  Then, there are also those who worship the idea of there not being any god at all, and just trust in themselves and human ingenuity.  Now, have you rethought your position on being no idolatry?

We Christians should be grieved by idolatry; especially if we are guilty of it.  Also when we see it in our land, and culture; and we should not be silent about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I for one do not like to argue.  I am not real good at debating issues.  I can proclaim that Christ Jesus came into the world to die on the cross for the sins of the world, He was buried, and He rose again.  As they say, That is a hill I can die one; and I will if that is what it takes.  In the mean time let us live the gospel before an idolatrous and evil and dark world.

 

What do You Do?

What do you do when you are on your way to work, discouraged, down, and basically feeling like you have made a wreck of your life?  You are listening to a great Christian radio station, and a program called “Unshackled”.

What do you do when you hear the voice of God say in your heart, soul, mind, and spirit, “I have loved you with an everlasting love”? What do you do?  To hear the voice of God speak His word in your heart will pick you up and set your feet on the Rock.

Those words, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” are the words of Scripture (Jeremiah 31:3), and spoken through the prophet to the people of God in the Old Testament.  When God speaks we must listen.

What do you do?

Christmas Day Twenty and Seven

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to choose my words so as to build, and not to destroy; to speak wisely and constructively; to speak words of life and not death; that others may be drawn to God through His word and Spirit.

“Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Proverbs 29:20 (NKJV)

Christmas Day Sixty Two

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to live in this nation, and for this nation to be a righteous nation, and lead by righteous leaders with a President who will lead in righteousness, and his rule be established in righteousness which is only through submission to the cross of Jesus Christ, His Spirit and His Word.

“Take away the dross from silver, and it will go to the silversmith for jewelry. Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness.” Proverbs 25:4-5 (NKJV)

Christmas Day Two Hundred Fifty and Three

What do I want for Christmas?

It is the wonderful LORD’S Day once again.  I want to worship God in Spirit and in Truth, that He truly might be glorified in our worship today; and everyday. May my life; the way I walk, the way I talk, be seen as worshiping Him.

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24 (KJV)

Why Christmas; After Christmas?

It seems every December people start talking about Christmas, and the “Christmas spirit”.  My thoughts this Christmas season was this,

If I am a follower of Jesus Christ, and if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, and wear the name “Christian”, then shouldn’t I [we] be living with that ‘Christmas spirit’ every day?

So I determined to see what the mind and heart of Christ would be for each day from the first day following Christmas 2015 until Christmas 2016 (providing the Lord wills that I live that long, or the rapture does not occur).

I pray they will lead me to follow Jesus even more faithfully in the year ahead.  I also pray that for you and all who may read these pieces.

Thus saith the Lord GOD 013014

“And He said unto me, ‘Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee.’ And the Spirit entered into me when He spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard Him that spake unto me. And He said unto me, ‘Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against Me: they and their fathers have transgressed against Me, even unto this very day. For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD. And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.'”  Ezekiel 2:1-5

Day 53 – The Word of God Shall Prosper

There are many times there is debate over the meaning of God’s Word.  Even Christians, at times, debate over whether something is “Literal” or “Figurative” or allegorical.  For me if God was speaking literal about the first coming of Jesus, and He came just as He has proclaimed; then when He speaks of the second coming of Jesus; it too will be just as He proclaimed.  There is no argument, or debate about it; it is already sealed.

My reading this morning was Isaiah 49 – 62; and my what an exciting read it was; and it is.  By the time I was finished with my reading I was anxious for the return of Christ, and I am waiting and living just as if it might be today.  How about you?

My verse of thought today is,

“So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”  Isaiah 55:11 (KJV)

I have heard people; even some preachers tell that the second coming of Jesus is when a person is has their new birth experience with Jesus Christ; or maybe when that person’s body ceases to live, “Jesus has come again to take them home”.  Now that could partially be true; however, if that is all there is to the second coming of Jesus we have truly missed something.

I know people and religions which believe that Jesus Christ is already ruling and reigning on earth, He has returned.  My question to those who believe that is, Where is Jesus?  Where is the Righteous rule of the King?  Where is Justice that is promised by the verses I read today?  Why is Israel still being threatened and attacked, almost daily?  Why has Israel not repented, believed in Jesus Christ and followed Him if Jesus is here?

The LORD’s purpose in casting Israel away, was not to forsake them but to redeem them.

“And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob,’ saith the LORD.  ‘As for Me, this is My covenant with them,’ saith the LORD; ‘My spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed,’ saith the LORD, ‘from henceforth and for ever.'” 59:20-21

“Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.  Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.” 60:15-16

When Jesus Christ comes again what a wonderful blessing God has in store for Israel and the whole world of those who will humble themselves before Him, trust Him and believe;

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.  For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before Me, and the souls which I have made.” 57:15-16

We can look at our world today and see that there is no peace; and if we are honest in believing the Word of God we can also see that there will be no peace on earth until Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace comes, and fully redeems His people, for all time and eternity.  The word of God shall not return to Him void, and it shall prosper in the thing where He sends it.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Consider the Poor

In a wealthy society such as the United States we are guilty of not thinking much of the sick and poor.  When and if we consider them at all we do not think of them very long.  We tend to put them out of our minds.  As a child growing up living on a farm, and my Dad working at making a living on the farm and from the farm; I never  thought of us as being poor.  We probably never had what neighbors had; but we had more than others, so I never did think of it as being poor.

David was probably running for his life from Saul when he wrote this Psalm, and he was seeing himself as “Poor”, and knew there were folks who did not travel with him who did him good; treating him right, and donating to his welfare – his welfare as well as the people with him

Hear the words of David,

“Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.”  Psalm 41:1

The word “Blessed” is a word meaning “Happiness”, but reaches further than just a happy thought or a laugh from a joke.  The word “Considereth” means to give attention to.  It is a good and great thing to give attention to those who are needy.  Whether it be materially poor, physically poor due to sickness or disease, God cares for the poor.  One’s who are so weak they cannot help themselves.

Jesus says in Matthew 5,

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (v. 3)

The “Poor in spirit” are those who cannot help themselves to the kingdom of heaven.  We all need help there.  We need the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ to make the way, pay the price, and take us into the presence of the Father.

Consider the poor.

-Tim

Born Again

The title is a term which has been heard and used by many in various ways.  If a man falls down a steep cliff and lives he says, “It is like I have been born again.”, but there is no change in the way he lives his life.  One former President of the USA, made the term known, or better known by using it in his campaign in the seventies.

Peter the apostle writes:

 “…Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,…”  1 Peter 1:23 (NKJV).

He previously wrote of having purified souls, which are connected with obeying the truth of God’s Word.  There can be no true love for God or others except by the Spirit of God and His Word.

We are enabled, empowered to love and obey because we have been “Born again”.  Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again”.  This is a spiritual birth.  When we are physically born into this world we are spiritually dead, and separated from God.  Our eternal destination of torment  is not God’s plan for us.  He made us eternal beings to spend eternity with Him, but that was shattered by sin.  There would be found no place for fallen man (Revelation 20:11).

The new birth comes about by the supernatural power of God.  It is not by the will of the flesh; for John has written, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  (John 1:12-13).

The seed of man is corrupt by sin.  The seed of God is incorruptible, and by the Word of God the seed of God comes and quickens the spirit of man, giving New Birth.  The Word of God is alive and lives forever.  The Psalmist has written, “Forever, O LORD, Thy word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89).   When the word is forever settled in heaven it is forever sure in the heart made alive by the Spirit of God.

There may be trials and tribulations in this life, but those made alive by the Spirit of God, and His living Word are overcomers, and have the assurance of glory in God, and living forever in His presence.  Trials?  Tribulations?  In this world?  Yes!  Jesus said, “But be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world”.

-T.A.

And There shall Come Forth a Rod…

This and future articles on Isaiah will be posted here at Fire and Hammer.    On Sunday evenings at Carr Lane Baptist Church I am preaching through the book of Isaiah, only in a “survey” type fashion.  I pray the Lord’s Spirit will guide you in the study of His Word.

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD…”  Isaiah 11:1-2 (KJV)

If we take a moment and consider the title of this post we might take a thought toward created things; and that would not be wrong to do.  It is however necessary that we see the Creator becomes a created being in the “stem of Jesse”, “a Branch” and later on in the chapter (v. 10) “root of Jesse”
What we see of this one who will come from “the stem of Jesse” is that He is “a rod”, and “a Branch” shall grow out of His roots.  This is a deep rooted prophecy of the coming of the Messiah of Israel.  It speaks of His humanity.  It speaks of His humility, and from whence He comes.
His life is lived in the “Spirit of the LORD” and that Spirit rest upon Him and I don’t believe it to be wrong to say, here, even within Him.  Holy wisdom, spiritual understanding, and divine counsel and power comes only from the Spirit of God.  When we have a good and healthy relationship and fellowship with the LORD, then there will also be a right reverent fear of the LORD as well.
In verse 4 we find that this Individual will, “with righteousness” judge the poor.  Could this be the “Poor in spirit to which Jesus refers in Matthew 5:3?  He will destroy the wicked with “the breath of His lips” (Revelation 1:16; 19:15).
In the future kingdom of this King there will be peace throughout the whole earth; even within the animal kingdom (vv. 6-9), and such knowledge increasing unlike anything we have ever known (v. 9).
This “root of Jesse” is an ensign or banner to the nations that are on earth.  They will seek Him and find Him, and all His people [Israel] will come to Him from the ends of the earth (vv. 10-12).  The return of Israel to the LORD will be even greater, more spectacular than was the first exodus from Egypt.
Be ready for our LORDs return.  Jesus is coming soon.
-Tim A. Blankenship

For The Praise Of His Glory

Ephesians 1:6-14

Three times in verses 6 – 14 we find the phrase, “to the praise of his glory…” and dealing especially with His grace.  First is it is written, “To the praise of the glory of his grace…” (v. 6), then we find; “…we should be to the praise of his glory…” (v. 12); and lastly; “…unto the praise of his glory.” (v. 14).  It should not come as a great surprise to the Christian that we are for the purpose of His glory.

Knowing this should thrill our hearts and souls.  To know that we are for the purpose of His glory ought to cause us, by the power of His Spirit within, to live lives that are scented with the fragrances of heaven.

THE PURPOSE OF OUR CALLING (v. 6; Romans 3:23).  Before there was Jesus Christ on earth as man we were in condemnation.  We were walking in ourselves, self-willed, without self-control, rebellious, and enemies of God.  That’s right!  I said, “Enemies of God” (James 4:4).  That was my estate before Christ, and the estate of everyone before they have faith in Him.

God’s purpose in calling us to Himself is for His glory, and to redeem a people unto Himself.  He loves us, and sent His Son Jesus to be the propitiation – the recipient of God’s wrath in our behalf.  By this one glorious event we now have fellowship, restored likeness with God our Creator.  We are accepted in His sight.  That our lives might be for the purpose of His glory, and the magnification of His grace.

BE THANKFUL FOR YOUR REDEMPTION THAT IS BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS (v. 7).  It is only through the blood of Jesus that we have redemption (1 Peter 1:18-19).  Because of sin the law requires death.  The blood is life for the sacrifice of sin (Leviticus 17:11).

By the shedding of blood God is just in forgiving our sins (Hebrews 9:22).

Slaves were bought and sold by millions in Rome of Paul’s day.  We were slaves of sin.  Jesus purchased us from sin’s bondage, by the shedding of His own blood, and set us free.

This price was not paid because you and I deserve it, but because of the riches of His grace.

THE GRACE AND THE INHERITANCE PROVIDED US THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS (vv. 8-12).  This grace of God is far more abundant than we can ever imagine.  He has over supplied it – (grace abounded) fully supplied – for us in making known to us “the mystery of His will”.  Mystery sometimes excites us.  By something being a mystery does not mean something spooky, eerie, or of which to fear.  Mystery causes mankind to be curious.  The mystery of His will was not fully revealed until Jesus came, died on the cross, was buried carrying the guilt, shame, and condemnation of sin away, was risen, and ascended into the clouds; and through the apostles; including Paul.  It is still mysterious how that God could become man, bleed, die, then rise again bodily from the grave.  Some things God reveals, we must trust rather than understand.

By coming to the Lord Jesus we are place into God’s “Inner circle” and He reveals, to those who are His, His will concerning reconciliation of men to God, man to man, man to creation, Jew to Gentile, and earth to Heaven.

For verse eleven it has been translated to read, “In Him we were also made His inheritance…” (HCSB).  There is no real problem with that since we are told in the Psalms, “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”  Psalms 2:8 (KJV).  We Gentiles who are in Christ are His possession, and inheritance in Him.  We have also received our inheritance in Him.  In the gospel of John Jesus mentions, at least six times, “…Those whom You have given Me” (John 17).

For the second time the apostle uses the term predestination.  As God’s children He has completed the work or plan for our lives in His Son Jesus Christ.  He has a predetermined purpose for our lives and brings them about, “after the counsel of His own will”.  We must remember that God does not have one plan for when everything goes well in our lives; and another for when things don’t go so well.  He only has one plan for Christians, and that is a completed salvation.  As Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ…”  Philippians 1:6 (KJV).  His plan will not fail.

These verses end with doxology.  Words of praise and adoration.  A life lived in praise and adoration of His is what He desires.  This is a great part of our inheritance – to praise, adore, magnify, and glorify our Lord.  By the Holy Spirit within we are equipped to live such a life.

“Who first trusted in Christ” is most likely a reference to the Jews who began the first church of Jerusalem.  No matter to whom it may refer; it is the calling of all followers, believers of Jesus Christ, “To be to the praise of His glory”.

THE SEALING OF THE SPIRIT AND THE EARNEST UNTIL OUR REDEMPTION (vv. 13-14).  Paul has written “…To the Jew first…” meaning that to them the gospel came first of all.  Jews were the first to hear and first to believe; though the numbers were very few.  Now the gospel has come to Ephesus – Gentiles.  This same Jesus of whom a few Jews had trusted was also the One in whom the Ephesians were trusting.

How did this transpire?

1. They heard the gospel which was preached unto them;
2. They believed the gospel – that is they put it to work in their lives;
3. They were then “sealed” or baptized into Jesus by the Holy Spirit.

* Water had nothing to do with this “sealing” nor the “baptism” (1 Corinthians 12:13).

This “sealing” is one that speaks of and guarantees several things.  First, it is a promise, from God, of a finished transaction.  The full price of sin was paid.  When we believe on Christ and His finished work we become Christ’s inheritance and He becomes ours.  It is as good as done.

Secondly, this seal implies ownership.  We are marked by God, bearing His mark on us throughout the rest of our lives and into eternity.  “For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20).  He is our owner.  We have no rights of our own.  We are branded/marked by the cross of Jesus Christ.

In the third place, the seal means security and protection.  There is nothing you or I can do to break off this seal.  It is eternal.  We are protected and secured from Satan, and all his forces, as well as protected from ourselves.

Fourthly, the seal is one of authenticity.  It takes more than a profession of the lips, religious activity, good works, etc..  If there is no witness of the Holy Spirit in the professor’s life, that is where Christ is not (Romans 8:9).  “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17).  The Holy Spirit is the mark of an authentic Christian.

Finally, the seal can be an engagement ring.  The promise of a full and meaningful relationship, in the Christian example, for all eternity.

The Holy Spirit is the guarantee from God to the Christian that God will come and redeem the body of the man as well as his soul.

From verse three through verse fourteen there has been three doxologies.  The first speaks of the Father.  Why has He chosen, adopted and  accepted us?  “To the praise of the glory of His grace” (v. 6).  The second speaks of the Son.  Why has the Son redeemed us, forgiven us, and revealed God’s will to us and blessed us with His inheritance?  “To the praise of His glory” (v. 12).  The third speaks of the Holy Spirit.  Why has God the Spirit sealed us and become the guarantee of future hope and blessing?  “unto the praise of His glory” (v. 14).

In conclusion God has blessed us with “all spiritual blessings… in Christ Jesus”.  The gifts and riches of Christ are far beyond what we deserve.  Yet, they are ours when we trust Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

All of heaven is yours and mine in Christ.  Jesus died, shed his blood, that you might be renewed to the place God intended you to be.  Believe Jesus.  Trust His Word, and you shall be saved eternally.

-Tim A. Blankenship