Grace & Peace


Thursday, February 21, 2019

In the Process of Time

It's commonly believed that in heaven there is no time, for God lives outside of time. It's a hard concept for us on earth to wrap our minds around because almost everything we do on earth is measured by time.

In the letter to the Hebrews, we are advised to be "followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." Heb. 6:12b KJV  Further on in Hebrews we read, "For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise." Heb. 10:36 KJV  Another translation for the previous verse reads, "For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:" NKJV  The definition for the word endurance denotes perhaps a prolonged period of time, the ability to continue or carry on. Faith and patience work together.

Often, under a trial or challenging set of circumstances, our faith is tested over a period of time. (ref. James 1:3) Our faith is what must endure until we receive the promise. Our faith has a faith object and He is Jesus, but of course, the specific trial or circumstance may vary. Perhaps it's income and your need is a financial breakthrough, or it's an illness and your need is recovery or healing. For our faith to stay strong and endure until we receive the promise in reference to our specific need or circumstance, we must be trained to know the truth of our faith object, His character and nature, for after all, it is the nature of the One who made the promise which gives the promise its validity.

How are we to train ourselves to know the truth of our faith object (Jesus) and for that matter, the principles by which His kingdom operates? The Apostle Paul instructed his young disciple Timothy, "But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" 2 Tim. 3:14-16 KJV

The Apostle Peter instructs all young Christians to "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good." 1 Pet. 2:2-3 NIV  It is perfectly fine and warranted for a young Christian to be growing on the pure milk of the word, but the writer of Hebrews gentle admonition to those of us who have been in the word of God for an extended period of time reads as follows, "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again, which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." Heb. 5:12-14 KJV

Now the above verses are a gentle admonition that God spoke through the writer of Hebrews to instruct us of a vital truth which reflects largely on His nature and our understanding of it. Ultimately, as Christians, we are to have our senses trained or exercised to discern both good and evil. In the book of Isaiah the prophecy of Jesus is given, saying, "Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good." Isa. 7:14-15 KJV

When the Israelites came out of Egyptian bondage and came into the promised land after forty years of wilderness wanderings, the promised land was a land flowing with milk and honey, but what is butter but milk that through a [process of time] has been churned into butter? Once again, "Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good."

We seem to be living in a world that has a hard time understanding what is truly good and what is truly evil, but we are not of this world. (ref. John 17:16) The only true and accurate definition of moral absolutes is found in the word of God and refutes the moral relativism which the world offers. Jesus's own words give us the biblical definition of good and evil as He taught in a synagogue on the sabbath. "Then said Jesus unto them, 'I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? To save life, or to destroy it?" Luke 6:9 KJV  To do good is to save life, and to do evil is to destroy it.  He further states in John's gospel, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." John 10:10 KJV

The devil wants to destroy, steal and kill, but Jesus brings abundant life and heals the brokenhearted, restores that which is stolen and brings liberty and release from bondage. When two of Jesus' disciples wanted to call fire down from heaven, as did Elias, on a village of the Samaritans, scripture tells us what Jesus said, "But He turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." Luke 9:55-56a KJV  Scripture also tells us, "he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father;" John 14:9b

Scripture further clarifies Jesus' nature by the words of Luke written in the book of Acts, "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him." Acts 10:38 KJV  Jesus is the Healer, while the devil and his cohorts try to oppress with sickness, both physically and mentally. Don't let anyone tell you that God put sickness on you to teach you a lesson. God is a good God! Going back to the words found in Hebrews, "For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe." Heb. 5:13 KJV  Righteousness simply means "right-standing with God." You are in right-standing with God if you are born again and have accepted Christ. (ref.2 Cor. 5:21) His atoning sacrifice qualifies us and it's a righteousness from God, apart from our works or performance. (ref. Rom. 3:19-24)  The Apostle Paul said this in the book of Romans, "For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith."  4:13 KJV  Further in Romans, he also states, "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." Rom. 10:17 NIV  This is why the Apostle Paul starts out the book to the Romans stating, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH." Rom. 1:16-17 KJV Also as stated in chapter seven of Romans;  "But now we are delivered from the law." (vs. 6a)  "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth." Rom. 10:4 KJV

Under the Old Covenant of law, their righteousness wasn't based on their belief, but on their performance, for as found in the book of Deuteronomy, "And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He hath commanded us." 6:25 KJV  We are to recognize that as born again New Covenant believers, we have received an imputed righteousness (right-standing with God) the moment we became born again. Jesus took our sin and gave us His righteousness. (ref. Rom. 4:11, 24-25, 2 Cor. 5:21) The Old Covenant Israelites agreement to keep the law, and their relationship with God, was a conditional covenant.

Scripture tells us, "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law;" Romans 3:20a, but the scripture references below from the book of Nehemiah written at a time when God's people we're under the law, teach us an important principal about understanding and 'the sense' of the word being obtained.

Understanding of the word of God trains our senses and gives us joy, as expressed in the words of Nehemiah. "So they read in the book of the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra, the priest, the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved. And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them." Neh. 8:8-12 KJV

Understanding and discernment are gained by spending quality time in God's word and sitting under sound teaching. Jesus said, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." John 6:63 KJV  The Spirit and the word work together to bring life to a situation. If you are born again, you have the Spirit of God inside of you. Continued growth and a clearer understanding of God's word through study over a "process of time" allows it to anchor deep in our hearts. ( ref. Col. 2:2 ) We are told in Paul's second letter to Timothy to "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Tim 2:15 KJV  We don't study to earn favor with God; we study to affirm that as believers we are already approved of God, delivered from all sin and shame, fully ready for the Master's use.

Once again, as written in the book of Nehemiah, "So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. (vs. 8)  "And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them." (vs. 12)  "...neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength." Neh. 8:10b

We gain 'the sense' when the word is taught distinctly and caused to be understood. The correct posture towards the word is given, and then can be applied to a situation or circumstance. Consider the definition of the word 'Posture.'

          From Merriam-Webster's online dictionary:

    2: state or condition at a given time especially with respect to capability in particular              circumstances

    3: a conscious mental or outward behavioral attitude

Christian, keep churning the milk, in the 'process of time' it will turn to butter. God's word is always faithful, as He is faithful.


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Thanks, David