And Nimrod dwelt in Babel, and he there renewed his reign over the rest of his subjects, and he reigned securely, and the subjects and princes of Nimrod called his name Amraphel…And…Mardon, his son, was worse than his father, and continued to add to the abominations of his father…At that time there was war between the families of the children of Ham, as they were dwelling in the cities which they had built [for that purpose].
And Chedorlaomer, [a title] king of Elam [a Semite], went away from the families of the children of Ham [i.e. he severed his alliance with Nimrod], and he fought with them and he subdued them, and he went to the five cities of the plain [in Canaan, i.e. also children of Ham] and he fought against them and he subdued them, and they were under his control. And they served him twelve years, and they gave him a yearly tax…Jasher 11)
“Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote
- the Rephaims in Ashteroth Karnaim,
- the Zuzims in Ham [use of personal name as place name undoubtedly indicates Ham’s capitol, like “Washington”.
- the Emins in Shaveh Kiriathaim,
- the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, which is by the wilderness. And they returned, and came to Enmishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of
- the Amalekites, and also
- the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezontamar…
And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.
And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed. And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew…And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people. (Genesis 14)
We see from the account of this battle that Abraham was living in the midst of dangerous and warring peoples. He was prepared for this battle because he had already armed and trained his household. They did not live at ease, even before they were attacked by foreign enemies they were on constant alert against the enemies that surrounded them.
Anyone who presumes to be a son / child of Abraham, i.e. “the incarnation and extension of his father’s will and character” must expect to do the same. Membership in a family / nation carries responsibilities.
“And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;
This indicate that Abraham has reached a level of career development that includes becoming a member of the LORD’s privy council.
Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation…For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD…And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is come up to me…I will go down now…” (Genesis 18:18-21)
Do we make a backwards assumption in a superficial reading of this passage?
- Did Abraham have the responsibility to ensure that all his existing household keep the way of the LORD,
- or did Abraham have the responsibility to limit his household to only those who kept the way of the LORD?
In brief, what comes first – being a member of Abraham’s household or keeping the way of the LORD?
“Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” Luke 3:7-9)
Keeping the way of the LORD precedes becoming a member of Abraham’s household. The reason God told Abraham in advance of the impending catastrophe was to warn him not to bail Lot out of the mess he had created for himself because Lot had left Abram’s household.
“And Abram was very rich in cattle…And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds…And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle…And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee…for we be brethren / kinsmen.” (Genesis 13:1-8)
Under the succession practices of the time, since Abram had no sons of his own, his nephew should have inherited his entire estate. Like Absalom, or Javi on Netflix’s Ozark, Lot was impatient to take over, setting up a coup d’etat. This cost him everything, as evidenced by Abram calling him a “brother / relative” rather than his son.
Primogeniture is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn legitimate child to inherit the parent’s entire estate in preference to shared inheritance among all or some children, any illegitimate child or any collateral relative…The common definition given is also known as male-line primogeniture…an uncle without sons of his own was succeeded by his nephew…
The earliest account primogeniture to be known widely in modern times is that of Isaac’s sons Esau, who was born first, and Jacob, who was born second. Esau was entitle to the “birthright” [right of birth order], but he sold the right to Jacob for a mess of pottage, i.e. a small amount of food…this passage demonstrates that primogeniture was sufficiently common in the Middle East for the passage to seem plausible to the people living there prior to the Roman Empire..
Adam Smith…explains the origin of primogeniture in Europe…
When land was considered as the means, not of subsistence merely, but of power and protection, it was thought better that it should descend undivided to one. In those disorderly times, every great landlord was a sort of petty prince. His tenants were his subjects. He was their judge, and in in some respected their legislator in peace and their leader in war. He made war according to his own discretion, frequently against his neighbors, and sometimes against his sovereign. The of a landed estate, therefore the protection which its owner could afford to those who dwelt on it, depended upon its greatness. To divide it was to ruin it, and to expose every part of it to be oppressed and swallowed up by the incursions of its neighbours.
Abraham was entitled to put down Lot’s rebellion, but he chose peace, at what appeared at the time to be at great cost to him and his heirs.
“Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.” And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD [Eden], like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.” (Genesis 13:9-11)
(Sidebar here – this account incidentally references the geography of the area prior to the aftershocks that created, or finalized, the Great Rift Valley detailed in the post The Stones Cry Out.)
This separation was more than physical distance, it severed family ties. Listen to how the LORD comforts Abram on the loss of the future hopes he had pinned on Lot. Remember, Abram is getting on in age, and Lot was the closest genetic relation to a son he could expect to ever have.
“And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest [even the section Lot took], to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered…And Abram said, LORD God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless [now that Lot is gone], and the steward of my house [next in line to inherit not just ownership but responsibility] is this Eliezer of Damascus [not even a blood relative]? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (Gen 13:14-16, 15:2-6)
Contrast this account of Abram’s relationship with God the Father to Lot’s relationship with Abram as father. Lot does not reflect Abram’s righteous character. Even though Abram had taken on himself the responsibility of family to rescue Lot from the four kings, there is no record of submission to either Melchizedek’s or Abram’s authority. Even the king of Sodom has more respect!
“And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan…And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother / relative Lot, and his goods…
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God…And he [Abram] gave him tithes of all. [But no mention of Lot.] Perhaps he was miserly calculating that Abram took care of his share?] And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.” [That’s appropriate, but again, no mention of Lot offering.] (Genesis 13:12-13, 14:14-21)
And when Lot hits rock bottom, he still won’t admit that he got himself into his awful predicament, which inevitably leads to failing to take the necessary steps of changing one’s behavior to change one’s circumstances. We all know people like that who won’t admit they are irresponsible and/or addicted to alcohol or drugs or video gaming and/or simply averse to hard or boring work so can’t keep a job and constantly asking for sympathy and help by always blaming someone else for their latest problem
“And there came two angels to Sodom…And the men said unto Lot…because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD…the LORD hath sent us to destroy it...then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city…Escape for thy life…neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord:”
This is where constantly lying, to one’s self most of all, ends up. Arguing with the Angel of Death.
“I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die:”
Umm, recall that when Lot went to “the plain” he left Abram in what can only be “the mountains.” So what evil can he possibly fear awaiting him in the mountain? Humiliation having to beg for help from Abraham?
“And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD: And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.” (Genesis 19:2-38)
Abraham was there to check out if his intercession to save the cities had worked. He was surely grieving that there weren’t even 10 righteous people in Lot’s family to prevent this disaster.
As you read the following story contrast Lot’s actions avoiding Abraham with this other son’s in the same circumstances.
“A certain man had [a son who] said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto [him] his living. And not many days after the…son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance...and he began to be in want…
And when he came to himself, he said…I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father.” (Luke 15:11-20)
Unlike this son, at no point in his tragic life did Lot use his family connections with Abraham to take advantage of his resources. Why? It would require submitting himself to Abraham’s authority. Maybe even admitting “I was wrong,” AKA repenting. The following passage has been rearranged a bit to drive home this point that Lot’s life went from bad to worse when he couldn’t bring himself to return to the crucial crossroad where he went wrong: when “they separated themselves the one from the other.” (Genesis 13:11)
“when God destroyed the cities of the plain…God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow
- But [Lot’s] wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
- And Lot went up out of the small city of Zoar, for he feared to dwell in Zoar:
- and dwelt in the mountain, in a cave, he and his two daughters
- And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him. Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.
- And the first born bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day.
- And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.
And yet, Lot is called righteous.
“God…turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow…delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)” (II Peter 2:4-8)
Well, he personally disagrees with wickedness and doesn’t engage in any wicked behavior. Notice, his daughters knew he would never agree to have sex with them if he wasn’t, like righteous Noah, drunk.
But he doesn’t DO anything about the wickedness he encounters either. In the end he had nothing to show for a lifetime of disapproval of the wicked while engaging in commercial pursuits. He is the model for Paul’s warning to all believers blithely anticipating an eternity of bliss after a lifetime ignoring God’s work.
“For we are labourers together with God…Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (I Corinthians 3:13-15)
I’m afraid we modern believers are more like Lot than Abraham. We don’t understand the details of our national membership from a biblical standpoint. Exactly like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day we take for granted that we can have all the benefits of being in Father Abraham’s nation because the patriarch / father of a nation has the authority to choose who will be included in his nation, regardless of their genetic ancestry.
Check that again. Have we overlooked the essential element that – the father of a nation has the authority to choose who will be included in his nation. Period.
Bestowing of sonship and inheritance by the Father to person(s) of his choosing is what Abra(ha)m was talking about as he prepared to make his trusted servant his heir.
“And Abram said…the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus…mine heir.” (Genesis 15:3)
I’m afraid we don’t pay attention to the Father’s piece of the sonship process. Belonging and inheritance is only granted by the Father. Yes, we get that it is “Not by works of righteousness which we have done…” (Titus 3:5). But neither is it left up to the individual to finalize the process of becoming a son or a citizen. It is up to the Father of the family or nation.
“And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be... (Genesis 15:4)
The essential condition of receiving the inheritance and privileges of a son only as granted by the Father to one who is the extension of his will and character is what John the Baptist was talking about as he prepared hearts to receive the promised inheritance of a great nation.
“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight…
Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees [Conservatives] and Sadducees [Liberals] come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father…I indeed baptize / overwhelm you with water unto repentance, but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize / overwhelm you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:1-12)
The allusion to grain and chaff would have brought to the minds of the literate Jews anticipating the arrival of the Son of David the abstract meaning of the treasured story of the human origins of the Davidic dynasty. The need for Boaz to accept Ruth into his family.
“Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee? And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor. Wash thyself therefore…mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do…
And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman. And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning…And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest:
So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son. And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life…Boaz begat Obed, and Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David. (Ruth 3:1-11, 4:13-15
The prerogatives of the Father to bestow sonship on persons of his choosing is what Paul was talking about as he fought to integrate Gentile with Jewish believers into Abraham’s nation with full citizenship rights and privileges.
“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is the Promised Seed of the Woman / Messiah / Christ..For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise…
For ye are all the children of God by faith in the Promised Seed / Messiah Savior / Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized [merged identities] into the Promised Seed / Christ have put on the Promised Seed / Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female [like the original Adams as described in the previous post]: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
- And if ye be Christ’s,
- then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:16-29)
“Wherefore seeing we [New Covenant believers] also [as well as the Old Covenant believers] are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;” (Letter to the Hebrews 12:1-2)
Paul, the great expositor of salvation by grace, states that YHVH’s Savior is the author-ity on our faith. As the author he composed the guidelines, and as the finisher the author-izes those who meet criteria.
To understand what this means let’s review some civics lesson from high school.
George Washington is the father, i.e. head, authority, of one new nation composed of people from many nations who are now identified as Americans only if they publicly renounce all previous authority and swear allegiance and commitment to live by this nation’s constitution and laws and defend it under the leadership of the Commander in Chief of the Armed Services.
Likewise, Abram is the human father / leader of one new spiritual nation composed of people from many other nations who are now identified as Hebrews only if they have renounced all previous spiritual authority and sworn allegiance and commitment to live according to the Kingdom of God’s constitution – the Bible – under the leadership of YHVH’s Promised Anointed Savior.
Protestants may not have as clear an understanding of this requirement for inclusion in the Kingdom of God as do Catholics who explicitly swear this oath in the baptismal prayer.
V. Do you renounce sin, so as to live in the freedom of the children of God?
R. I do.
V. Do you renounce the lure of evil, so that sin may have no mastery over you?
R. I do.
V. Do you renounce Satan, the author and prince of sin?
R. I do.
V. Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth?
R. I do.
V. Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered death and was buried, rose again from the dead and is seated at the right hand of the Father?
R. I do.
V. Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?
R. I do.
V. And may almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has given us new birth by water and the Holy Spirit and bestowed on us forgiveness of our sins, keep us by his grace, in Christ Jesus our Lord, for eternal life.
There is a heretical teaching that believers are entitled to simply “name it and claim it” as if God is a giant vending machine whose primary role is to indulge his children. Even salvation is treated as being at the discretion of the individual. “Did you pray the sinner’s prayer and truly understand and believe what it teaches? If so, please click on the “I have accepted Christ today” button below.”
We need to understand that citizenship rights and inheritance in both an earthly nation and God’s nation, like immigration status, is not given to someone simply because they choose it. It is bestowed, by the ruler, on those he determines are worthy as demonstrated by their allegiance / submission to him in their actions / works.
Even in our contemporary society adoption and inheritance are not decided by the child but by the parents based on consideration of the child’s worthiness for the entailed privileges and responsibilities.
“And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, [No.] Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.” (Genesis 17:18-19)
“…Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright…afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.” (Hebrews 12:17)
“And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him…if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which?…Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Mat 19:16-23)
Hold on! Many fundamentalist Christians will holler that this is teaching that we are saved by works, and point to the passages clearly stating that we are saved by grace, not works.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph 2:8-9)
“For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” (Ro 4:2-8)
But if we keep on reading we find far too many other scriptures balancing what has become an “easy believism” religion of fire insurance after death with no evidence of spiritual regeneration changing one’s daily routine fulfilling the desires of the flesh. The concept that membership in the Kingdom of God is simply a “get out of jail free” card is absolutely antithetical to what scripture teaches.
“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only…For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.” (Jam 2:14-24)
If we go back to the beginning of the doctrine of eternal security, AKA sure mercies of David, we find that the doctrine we are relying on unarguably teaches God does in fact bestow inheritance on the persons of his choosing, NOT on everyone who wants it.
“I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.” (II Sam 7:14-15)
The next passage referencing the sure mercies of David doesn’t treat this as a gift of God casually distributed like necklaces at a Mardi Gras parade.
There is effort, actions, one can even say work, involved in obtaining salvation. Just read how many action verbs are demanded of those who would get saved. At the very least seeking, repenting, and forsaking.
“Ho, every one that thirsteth,
- come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye,
- eat...Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not?
- hearken diligently unto me,
- eat ye that which is good,
- let your soul delight itself in fatness.
- Incline your ear,
- come unto me:
- hear, and your soul shall live;
- Seek ye the LORD while he may be found,
- call ye upon him while he is near:
- Let the wicked forsake his way,
- the unrighteous man his thoughts:
- let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. (Isaiah 55:1-7)
Yes, salvation is a gift, but you can’t claim the free aspect of a gift without also acknowledging the aspect that the gift is given at the discretion of the giver to those of his choosing! In this case, salvation is a gift of God only given to those who prove they are entitled to it by their actions. Like a bonus at work, it’s not part of the wage, but it is only given to those who prove they are worthy of it. They won’t be granted as a gift to those who despise, wonder / question, refuse to believe.
“[Paul speaking] And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David…Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.” (Act 13:32-41)
The works that are spelled out in scripture prove that one is born again into the Spirit hyperdimension. The New Birth doesn’t simply happen by believing in Creator God’s power to give life as proven by Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. There is a growth and development of the Spirit of God merging with the seed of faith, just as there was with Mary’s pregnancy with Yeshua.
All too often, that seed aborts prior to full development and birth, detailed in Yeshua’s parable of the seed and the Sower.
But if it really happens there is evidence that one is controlled by the Holy Spirit by one’s
- repentance from evil / self centeredness
- Spirit control over previous destructive physical, mental and emotional obsessions and compulsions
- knowing / growing in relationship with Jesus which shows in
- a changed lifestyle paralleling his of obedience to the Father.
“There we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;” (Hebrews 2-3)
“I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
- And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law,
- but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
- That I may know / be merged with him,
- and the power of his resurrection,
- and the fellowship of his sufferings,
- being made conformable unto his death;” (Philippians 3:3-10)
Wow. Sure doesn’t sound like contemporary Christian churches with children’s playgrounds and team sports and above all else contemporary music.
But neither does this mean that if we sin or fail to live up to a certain standard we “lose our salvation.” Go back to the archetype, David. He committed murder and adultery, but he also repented and brought forth “works meet for repentance” when he accepted God’s chastening in his life. Despite suffering he remained submitted to God’s will, as described in the previous post. To claim salvation because you privately muttered a prayer during a church invitation then went out and continued living as before is to be one of the people of the lie of the devil.
“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (I Joh 1:5-10)
The reason salvation is not a matter of either faith or works, it is faith and works, should be obvious. Our actions – both righteous and unrighteous – demonstrate the reality or pretense of our trust in, and submission to, the Lord in obtaining his criteria of righteousness.
We should recognize God’s righteousness in relying on our behavior as proof! Unlike the infamous Dreyfus affair, in the day of judgment not even God makes himself the sole judge of our guilt or innocence. It is for our own protection that God relies on DEMONSTRABLE EVIDENCE of our adherence to the requirements for inclusion in his kingdom!
If we really take scripture seriously we should take stock of our behavior as children of Abraham. Are we acting like we are members of the household of faith, citizens with the saints? Are we in fact following in the footsteps of the man we claim is our father, leaving our pagan culture and way of life to serve the true and living God?
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God…These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath for them a city.” (Heb 11:8-16)
Or are we numbered among the backslidden children like Lot, content to simply denounce the evil around us without getting clear of it, and despite all his preaching losing his entire family to the wickedness of his society? Actions speak louder than words.
“See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:25-29)