Tag Archives: spiritual growth

Christ’s Promise of a Great Destiny for Us

Christ makes an astounding promise to His followers. “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” (Rev. 3: 21; vs. 14-22). Overcome  what? A whole list of shortcomings that future monarchs must change in their lives to be holy enough to be trusted with the King’s business.

But the point here is that somebody–possibly somebody you know, maybe even yourself–somebody will be sitting on the throne alongside Christ during the Thousand Year Reign! In fact, several overcomers will be granted this precious destiny.

In order to be prepared for this high calling, one must be taught about kingship and how to rule in righteousness as one of God’s kings. He did say that He is the “King of kings” with a little “k.” Did we honestly think that we would just wake up one morning and mystically know how to govern with the Spirit of Christ fully formed in us–us just hitting the ground, magically knowing how to be a king in His kingdom? But then most Christians have never pictured themselves sitting on that throne with Christ. Most have never heard it preached. Most just see themselves going to heaven with no further responsibilities. Really? Is that all there is?

How do I know this to be the case? Because no one ever talks about this destiny of kingship. Once you see it, you will begin to speak excitedly about it.

Much to Learn

There is such a learning curve. We future kings must know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. We must understand His secrets, mysteries that not just anybody can know. He only reveals the secrets of His spiritual governance of the universe to his servants the prophets. “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but He reveals His secret unto His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). Prophets? He wants us to be His prophets?

Yes. We are to be His mouth to utter His thoughts, His purpose, and His plan to this last day generation. That is what a prophet of God does. “But the wise shall understand” (Dan. 12: 10). The wise are those in reverential awe of God and His purpose and plan.

We are talking about the deep things of God, the things kept secret from the foundations of the world, even the hidden mystery, hidden from “ages and from generations,” and that mystery is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Matt. 13: 35; Col. 1: 26-27). Christ formed in us. Love fully formed in us (Gal. 4: 19).

There is much to learn to fulfill this destiny–to have the Spirit of Christ fully formed in us, with Him using our bodies to teach, minister, rule, heal, and administer righteousness in His kingdom of righteousness. There is much to learn.

Prince Charles of Great Britain has been preparing to become king for decades. How much more should the future overcomers be educated and prepared to rule with Christ?

We must learn the mysteries of the parables, which contain the aforementioned secrets of how God will reign in His kingdom. And to learn them we need one of the offices of God to instruct us. We need a teacher of God who is specifically trained for imparting this knowledge  (Eph. 4: 11).

After all, we needed our elementary school teachers to teach us the fundamentals of reading, grammar, composition, math, history, and science. How much more do we need a teacher, ordained and sent from God, to teach us the foundational teachings that will prepare us in humility to be elevated to such a high position in His government.

Yet, most people know very little about His kingdom, which happens to be the true gospel (Mark 1: 14). God’s people are “destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos. 4: 6). Most only believe what they have been taught: get saved, escape hell, and go to heaven, and try to tell others the same.

This limited vision of the kingdom of God closes up all the secrets and mysteries of God from entering one’s mind. Vast passages in the Bible are closed to the people because of this narrow conception of God and His rule. It is difficult for them to conceive of this truth elucidated in the scriptures: Jesus Christ (Yahshua), the Son of God, the King of the Kingdom of God, is coming back to rule for 1,000 years–right here on earth. And some of His followers will be ruling alongside Him.

Nevertheless, for some, this message will resonate with hope in becoming one of His rulers sitting on the throne with Christ. Some it will not. Christ did say, “He that has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says” (Rev. 3: 22). If a person is able to comprehend this message, then let that person do it.

The point is this. No matter what one’s spiritual growth is, no matter how far they are destined to grow spiritually in Christ–God’s plan and purpose is for them. It is bread and meat for the hungry soul. And so let those so inclined eat at the Master’s table and learn of Him. And it all starts with knowing His eternal purpose of reproducing and multiplying Love, which is God, and knowing His plan to implement this purpose.

But His plan is not for just our little life, but for the whole universe. For this is His vision, of His plan, to fulfill His purpose, comprised of His Thoughts from His Mind, and poured into the Word, and translated into the Seed. And the Seed was made flesh and dwelt among us. And the Seed was God, and the Seed was Love. And the Seed germinated in the fertile soil of good and honest hearts, and it grew as a tree and grew and grew until it filled the whole earth with Love.  And this is all contained in the Mind of the Son of God. Hallelujah!           Kenneth Wayne Hancock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Faith He Rose Not Enough–With Him We Rose, Too

It is not enough to believe that Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead. We must believe that our old Adamic nature died with Him, was buried with Him, and by believing in His resurrection, we too are “raised to walk in a newness of life.”[Romans 6: 4].

This is what He requires us to do. It is not difficult to believe that Christ existed and went through what the scriptures said He went through. “Even the devils believe in one God and tremble” [James 2:19]. But He is requiring His followers to go all in, to lay it all on the line, to get skin in the game. And we do that by giving up our old lives, ambitions, haunts, addictions, habits–you get the idea. He tells us to “count the cost” to see if we have the right stuff to complete the spiritual growth process He wants us to go through in order to become like Him. I’ll repeat that: to become just like Him.

We must first realize that the moment Christ expired on the cross, your sin nature and mine died along with Him. That was us dying there. He took our sins upon Him and through death eradicated them out of existence. All the sins of every human being, along with the old nature that gave rise to the sin, died when He died [Romans 6: 1-15]. This is precious knowledge that is seldom heard on Sundays around the world.

And then Christ was buried, and with Him was buried all the sins of mankind. Your sins and my sins, along with our old sinful nature that generated the evilness in the first place–they died and were buried.

And then we believe that Christ rose from the dead. But it wasn’t just Him that rose, but we rose too! He is so merciful to provide a way for us to have a new life–before our physical body goes back to dust. He rose, we rose, by believing it so. He said it; He wrote it; we are now  just to believe it.

So it is not just believing that only Christ rose from the dead. We rose with Him. But all we have are His words promising this new life if we believe the above. We must believe words that express this truth, written down by Christ’s followers almost 2,000 years ago. And that takes faith, which is believing having not seen the evidence beforehand.

The Seed Germinates

When we really believe in our own death, burial and resurrection, which happened simultaneously with His, then the light of truth ignites within our hearts. It is like when a seed is planted in the garden. The warmth of the sun combines with the moisture in the earth and then–a miracle happens.

The old seed ceases to exist in its original state. It dies, losing its old identity. Its old outward shell goes back to dust as its new inner life springs out to the light and warmth of the sun. We as God’s offspring are given birth like those garden seeds. It is a miracle.

The original spiritual Seed is the Word of God. Christ is the Author and Finisher of our faith. An author writes the script. And this Author wrote the play of Life having Himself come in flesh and give Himself as a ransom for all of us. And He would be the Word of God enacted on the earth. And that Word became the Seed. And when that Word is believed by us–about Him and us as outlined above–then we become “new creatures in Christ.” We become part of the enactment of the Play. We are in it! Or rather, He is in us, enacting the love one to another, which is His nature and is an integral part of the Script.

““Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain” (John 12: 24). That wheat seed that Christ was talking about was Himself. If He does not go to the cross, then He would remain alone. But if He dies, then many more grains–just like Himself–will be produced. He would have reproduced Himself through the self-sacrifice.

The same thing is true for man. If a person chooses to not die with Christ, then he will face the  lonely, dusty tomb of death.

But if we choose His way of life, then our old sinful heart dies and we are freed from its clutches. We were slaves to sin and sinning, but we now are liberated from the slavemaster sin.

And like that seed in the garden, through belief in the word of promise that the Son/Word/Seed proclaimed, we newly sprout up with the very power of the Creator surging with life through our new being.

Sprouted Wheat Grows into Grain

We like freshly sprouted wheat are together become potential grain that the Master mills into flour which He uses to make the spiritual “bread of life.” But we must grow to full maturity till we “come to seed” and can become flour for baking that bread.

For all this to happen, we must grow from that little sprouted blade of wheat. Christ explains that the kingdom of God is like the earth that brings forth fruit of itself. A man sows the seed, and it comes up–“first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head” (Mark 4: 28).

Brothers and sisters, we are His seed; we are God’s children. And we are meant to grow. That is our destiny: to become just like Him and to be used to make the bread of life. If we are not growing into maturity, something is wrong!

To mature like this, we must “purge out the old leaven” and the false teachings that well meaning people have passed down to us. We must be ready to “dig deep” and study His word diligently and do it in the face of the opposition that will come–mostly from those of our own family and circle of friends and acquaintances.  Kenneth Wayne Hancock

 

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The Milk of the Word

The spiritual growth life cycle revealed in scripture is like the natural human life cycle. We all start out in our new life as babes in Christ.

After that first flush of joy of entering into our new life, we start growing and we are hungry. Just like a baby. Peter admonishes us, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.”

But what exactly is the “milk of the word”? The spiritual milk is the “first principles of the oracles of God.” Paul the apostle uses this phrase in an admonishment to the Hebrews. He was concerned with their lack of growth, saying that they should be out there teaching the newcomers in Christ. But they had “need that one teach [them] again which be the first principles of the oracles of God, and have need of milk, and not strong meat (Heb. 5: 11-12).

Two “needs” are mentioned here–a need to be taught the first principles and a need for milk. So we see that they are one and the same: milk = first principles.

So What Is the “Milk”?

What are these first principles? The next verse says that if a Christian is still on the spiritual milk, then they are “unskilful” and lack spiritual experience, “for he is a babe.” Strong meat  is for mature Christians, meaning that their senses have been “exercised to discern both good and evil.” In other words, a babe in Christ finds it difficult to tell the difference between good and evil. Babes in Christ need to be taught the difference between the true doctrines of Christ and the false doctrines. And there are many (5: 13-14).

The “first principles of the oracles of God” are the “principles of the doctrine of Christ.” They are found in the next two verses of Hebrews. We are to learn them and then leave them! We are to walk in them but not circle the same old mountain like our forefathers did. Rather we are to do them, incorporate them as good spiritual habits, and then “go on to perfection,” which is spiritual maturity. That’s the place where there’s no more need of milk but strong spiritual food (6: 1-2).

And then Paul lists these principles of the doctrine of Christ, which is the milk of the word. “Not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” That’s the milk that when fully consumed and digested, will bring us into a higher walk with Him.

These are the first principles of Christ’s doctrine, and we should know them backwards and forwards and be doing them. Yet, some churchgoers say that they do not want doctrine–they just want Jesus. Sorry. You can’t have Him without His teachings. He is the Great Teacher of Righteousness, after all.

These teachings comprise the milk of the word, and they are wonderful stuff and very much needed, but it should not be our spiritual food forever!

The New Blog

For those of us who do have need of the milk, I will be sharing a series of articles in a new blog with the working title The Milk of the Word. It will be there for new Christians as well as those in the body of Christ who desire to firm up the foundation of Christ’s doctrines, which will help us all to go on to perfection. “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 4: 11-15). But first, let us imbibe the pure and sincere milk of the word.

{I will be announcing the new blog The Milk of the Word shortly here on this blog}

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Filed under apostles' doctrine, faith, repentance, spiritual growth, Spiritual Life Cycle

What the World Needs Now Is…Agape Love

Life is really all about love. Rather, a fulfilled life is all about love. Books, songs, poems, and most artistic masterpieces have as their major theme something about love. It is “what the world needs now.”

So we have the thinkers and poets penning down for the masses the hidden longings of the heart, for love. Although they may not realize it, mankind’s longing for love is really a desperate desire for God on some level. For there is only one entity in the universe that actually is love, and that is God, for “God is love” (I John 4: 16).

Thus, mankind’s search for love ends when he finds God. Seeking to be loved from another individual is seeking an earnest of God that He has placed in man and woman, who was created in His image.

The Hebrew prophets and apostles speak of just these very things. The Son of God Himself spoke of love, living it out dramatically through His Passion. He is Love incarnate, for He exhibited the greatest love that a mortal can ever do–to lay down his life for his friends.

This act of self-sacrifice for another instantly touches the human heart like no other act. The Son of God presented Himself the sacrificial Lamb for our deliverance, and now He asks His followers to do the same. But this time we are “to present our bodies a living sacrifice.”  Through this humble service to our King, we will not become self-centered proteges of this world system, but we will be “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” We will change into His image through thinking His way, by His Spirit. (Romans 12: 1-2).

Now His Holy Spirit of Love multiplies and abounds in us when we do what He did, which is lay down our lives to help save mankind from a life without love (God). It is not so we can escape hell and go to heaven. That is not why He laid His life down. To follow Him, we must do it for the same reason.

How Do We Lay Our Lives Down Like Christ Did?

He wants us to join Him on the cross. The moment just before Christ died, all of the sins of mankind were place upon Him. He wants us at first to join Him on the cross. This signifies that our old haunts and sinful desires and deeds coming out of our old heart die with Him. Our old sinful nature died with Christ that day. And “he that is dead is freed from sin” (Romans 6: 7). We are free from the enslavement to sin and sinning that was our old selfish life! The problem is many just do not believe it. They have not heard of it and are loathe to believe anything “new.” They think that it is impossible to be rid of sin in a Christian’s life. But is anything too hard for God? To him that believes, aren’t all things possible with God? (I John 3: 9).

Dying with Him is the initial baptism or immersion into His death. Then we  believe that we are buried with Him. And then we believe that He was raised from the dead after 72 lifeless hours in the tomb. It is through believing in His resurrection that enables us to believe that we are raised from the dead, too! (Romans 6: 4-5). This is His faith, His belief. When we also believe this great act of the greatest love, then we receive His Spirit of life and love, and we walk “in a newness of life”! And love!

His resurrection power is born of love. For it surges forth after the selfless act of laying down His life for His friends, the greatest love. Our conscious act of following Christ in doing this is met with the resurrection power of love (God), now in us.

Spiritually Growing
And then we, “as newborn babes,” are to spiritually grow in Him. Or rather, we will spiritually grow as the Spirit of Love grows in us.

“Babes in Christ” need the “sincere milk of the word” in order to grow properly. They are, of course, mostly alive in their new life for what they can receive from the Father. Their prayers reflect this, for their petitions  center on their own needs. This is why Christ teaches all of us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” and all of our earthly needs will be supplied. But it takes a spiritual growth to become mature in Him enough to do this. A growth that the milk and then the meat of the Word will accomplish. For we all must be taught His thoughts, desires, and will, in order to grow (I Peter 2.2; Matt. 6: 31-34).

But herein lies the problem. Instead of the sincere and uncorrupted milk and later meat of the Word, they are fed with half-truths, imaginations, and traditions of men about God and not the “food that is needful for [them]” (Prov. 30: 8). Thus, the little children of God, lamentably, are stunted in their spiritual growth in Christ, stunted by erroneous concepts of the Savior and His plan for this world.

But a “babe in Christ” is like a child fed only with junk food their whole life. When the white sugar, corn syrup, and white flour products are taken away and a wholesome diet is place in front of them, they will say that the old junk food is  better. “And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.’ ” “Wine” is universally accepted to be a symbol of “doctrine” (Luke 5: 39).

Warnings about this problem in the last days fill the writings of the apostles of Christ. All of the New Testament writers, along with the prophets of old, expressed their concerns.

But Some…

But some will break out of the stunted pack, pulled by a strong yearning for the answer to life’s riddle. God has called some according to His purpose. He foreknew and conferred on them a destiny “to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8: 28-29). He has chosen them “in Him before the foundation of the world, that [they] should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Agape Love (Eph. 1:4).

These chosen ones, invisibly guided by His Spirit, will answer the “high calling.” They will decrease so that He can increase His presence in them to the point that Love (God) will express Himself fully to every one on earth–through them.

These He is calling. They have already been chosen. And they will respond and become the over comers of all things like the the corrupted half-truths and traditions of men about God. Fed with the sincere truth of God’s plan, they will grow fully to express Christ in human form again. They will believe Christ’s words: “Greater works shall you do than what I have done.”

They will be the princes and princesses in God’s kingdom, soon to be established earth wide upon His return. Filled with Christ’s Spirit, during the 1,000 Year Reign, they will be His viceroys, governing the provinces of the earth after the dust and ash of Tribulation settle.

How Will They Grow?

This vision of the “gospel of the kingdom” is what will feed and nourish young Christians so that they can spiritually grow to be just like Christ.

And the growth of God within them is the growth of love within them. Christ’s words confirm this: “All men will know that you are My disciples if you have love one to another.”

The last days are upon us. All these promises of sonship are written for our time, brothers and sisters. We are living in the time of the latter rain of His Spirit. Are we the ones who will shake off the chains of Christian mediocrity and free ourselves from spiritual infancy? Will we stand up and answer this highest of His callings–to sit with Him on His throne? Not every Christian will. Consider the five foolish virgins (Rev. 3: 21; Matt. 25: 1-13).

Or will we recede to the rear near the nursery and hide our talents in the earth, only to be chided by the Master, “You slothful and unprofitable servant.”

Sadly, this will come upon some Christians, all because they did not dig deep and prove all things and study for themselves the “new things” presented to them along the way. Christians who don’t grow will never express the greatest love, the love that comes from above, that heals the poor and needy, that rights the wrongs of human depravity, that restores God’s righteous judgements in the earth, thus incarnating God (Love) once again to a love-starved earth.

It is this kind of love that we are to finally add to the divine nature within us now. “Agape love is the bond of perfectness.” It is that last attribute of God’s divine nature that makes us complete in Him. It matures us, for when added, we will have been “conformed to the image of His Son.”  {My readers, I have poured it out for you. Can a brother get an “Amen”? Tell me what you think about these things. Did they make you think? Did they inspire you? Did they make you angry? Make a comment. Let me know your thoughts about these things. Holler at me. I need your fellowship.    Kenneth Wayne Hancock}

 

 

 

 

 

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The Five Offices of God–For Our Perfection

Unto man has God “put in subjection the world to come.” Man. That’s us, brethren. In the world to come, the next age, the time in the history of this earth after Christ’s return to rule it for a thousand years—God has ordained that some of us human beings will be rulers with Christ in the government that He will establish (Heb. 2: 5).

To rule and reign with Christ in His kingdom/government—that is the high calling. Brethren, are we ready? Have we grown spiritually that we would be strong and pure enough to take on that mantle of responsibility for the King, to be His administrators, His regents, His arms and hands, His heart and mind in the myriad matters of ruling the King’s earth?

To help us fulfill this “high calling” of God, Christ came “that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (2: 9). And Christ will be made complete and perfect by His act of “bringing many sons unto glory” (v. 10). And this glory is us being glorified, which in turn brings final glory to the King and Master. Christ will be fully glorified when He fulfills His final destiny, which is bringing His chosen ones to full spiritual maturity.

He did say, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone. But if it die, it brings forth much fruit” (John 12: 24). We are the “much fruit” that He refers to on the road to His glorification (v. 23).

And because we, Christ’s followers, have come out of the matrix of “flesh and blood, He also Himself took part of the same.” Why? So that He could pave the way for our immortality, made possible by the destruction of the devil. Christ destroys the devil when He destroys sin in our life and gives us a new life by faith (Heb. 2: 14). That’s the foundation to build the temple of God on. Since we are His temple,that is where we start.

And Christ brings us to that full mature spiritual growth by sharing His Spirit with His body of believers. He shares His Spirit with His teachers, and they then impart the necessary knowledge to Christ’s brethren, for “He is not ashamed to call [us] brethren (2: 11).

Why God Gave Us the Five Fold Ministry Offices

In fact, Christ set in His spiritual body of believers five offices: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. And Christ established these offices “for the perfecting of the saints [the brethren, us], for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4: 11-12).

Let’s savor this a moment. God has chosen out from among all the Christians in the world a few to be in these offices. Why? What is their purpose? First, they are necessary “for the perfecting” of the members of Christ’s church, which is His body of believers. The Greek word (G2675) translated “perfecting” here means “to be fit, prepared, to be mended and repaired, and ethically, to be complete and perfect, and to make one what he ought to be” (http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/Lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=G2675&t=KJV).

The true offices of God will help us by the Spirit within them to become prepared, ready and fit to assume the duties in Christ’s kingdom—royal duties to be assigned to us of our Father. For this is really the “work of the ministry” that Paul refers to here. The “ministry” of Christ is the administration of His government that will fill the whole earth, according to the prophet Daniel in 2: 44 and 7: 18: “But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.” That’s a long time to be in the presence of the King of kings (that’s us with the little “k”). And we “shall take the kingdom and possess it forever.” We. Us. Ruling with Christ the King.

That’s the gospel, my brothers and sisters. That’s the good news that man needs. Getting rid of the corruption caused by the sinful hearts of the leaders of this present world system and replacing it with righteous rulers who contain the Spirit of Christ in their bosoms. That’s the gospel; that’s the good news. It is the “gospel of kingdom” (Matt. 4: 23; Mark 1: 14-15). But how the gospel has been watered down at best by preaching only a tiny portion of His plan! How it has been poisoned by the preaching of false concepts like the prosperity doctrine! Well did the prophets cry, “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture, Saith the LORD.” And, “My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray.” But then He promises finally, “I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding” (Jer 23: 1; 50: 6; Ezk 34: 2; Jer 3: 15).

How Long Will They Teach Us?

These Spirit-led apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers in our day will continue to teach “till we all come in the unity of the faith” (Eph. 4: 13). They through the Spirit will teach His pure concepts until we Christians are on the same page, until we have His vision. They will teach by His Spirit until the body has the true “knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man” (4: 11).

They will continue to teach the truth until we are fully grown, walking in the Spirit like Peter, James, John, and Paul did after the Resurrection. “Perfect” here means a completed spiritual life cycle growth. They will teach until we all have the “measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (v. 11).

But don’t just take my word for it. We must prove all things through study and prayer to see if the things expounded here take root and grow in our hearts—to see if this vision of a royal heritage quickens like a seed in warm rich soil which loses its lonely first state and dies, only to be reborn as a green lively plant nourished by the living waters, alive now to reproduce itself, as the Creator has reproduced Himself in us.     Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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Adding Patience–Enduring All Things

We are admonished by the apostle Peter to “add to our faith” certain divine attributes, calling this procedure, “partaking of the divine nature.”  Yes, right now, we are to do this.  When would he expect us to add these things–after we die?  No, “now is the acceptable time.”  Now is the only time.  Whatever we humans are going to do in our fragile fleeting existence on this planet, we better do it now.

And some of us have been called to “partake of the divine nature.”  “Something (or Someone)” is pulling us, leading us, and yes, even commanding us to seek a higher path.  And so we seek that better way.  And some of us begin to see that that better way is Christ, for He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14: 6).

And some of us now are seeing that we are to become like Him.  That is right.  For we are told by the apostles to “let this mind be in you that was in Christ” (Phil. 2: 5).  And, “Let us go on unto perfection” (Heb. 6: 1).  In fact, the Savior Himself commands us to “be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5: 48).  “Perfect” here is from the Greek word meaning “full spiritual maturity.”

Our perfection, our maturity in the Spirit, is the main reason that the scriptures of truth have been preserved for us.  “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…that the man of God may be complete (perfect), thoroughly equipped for every good work” (II Tim. 3: 16-17 NKJV).

So how do we arrive at perfection (completeness)?

Our completed growth in Christ is brought about by adding to our faith the attributes of the divine nature that Peter admonishes us to do.

Compared to instant messaging and world wide telecommunications and instant mashed potatoes, the steps toward full spiritual growth and ultimately maturity in Christ take a long time.  “Instantly” is not in God’s vocabulary.  That is one of the main paradoxes in this modern age.  Everything happens in the blink of an eye, except the growth of God’s Spirit in a human being.

We are given but a short space of time here on earth.  Our time on the planet is short lived.  The older we get the faster our allotted time runs out.  And most fritter their precious moments away on ludicrous pursuits.  But those that Christ has chosen will redeem the time, “that they may be made perfect in one (John 15: 16; 17: 23).

Spurred on by the Spirit, they will study, dig, and search out the truth as to what this life is all about.  And when they find out that life is Him, His plan and purpose, and His ballgame, then they will commit themselves to Him–though it take a lifetime.  They will endure any hardships along the way.  That’s the way the elect are built; it’s in their spiritual DNA.  They will endure all things.

And their studies will lead them to that attribute of the divine nature called in the English language “patience.”  But in the Greek (G5281), the word means “endurance, steadfastness, constancy…a patient enduring; sustaining; perseverance” [1].

This word is from the verb (G5278) “to endure.”  I Corinthians 13 lists the attributes of  agape love, God’s nature that is to be matured in us.  It “endures all things” (v. 7).

What things?  We are admonished to “endure to the end” and be saved (Matt. 10: 22; 24: 13).  Trials and tribulation will be endured by the elect.  Christ describes the treachery of the world at the time of the end of this age.  “Brother shall betray brother to death and the father the son.”  Children will betray their parents unto death.  And ones He has chosen to become fully matured in His image–they  will be “hated of all men for My name’s sake–but he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved” (Mark 13: 13).  This is the patience/endurance that Peter is telling us we need to add to our faith.

Because this patience, this endurance, this perseverance that we must maintain speaks of a time of trials and tribulations, and persecutions and betrayals.  As God begins to squeeze the evildoers, they will lash out at the righteous.  We have to know that this is coming.

“Tribulation Worketh Patience”

“Tribulation worketh patience.”  Or, tribulation brings about patience.  Or, more clearly put, trials and tribulations are the very thing that fashions endurance, which is definitely a big part of God’s nature.  Without trials, patience/endurance will not be formed in us.  And without this endurance factor in our spiritual lives, we will not fulfill our calling as His sons and daughters.  For the law of harvest reads, Each seed bears its own kind.

After we are “illuminated” by the light of God’s truth, He has the adversary, the devil, present trials and persecutions to us, to which we will endure “a great fight of afflictions” (Heb. 10: 32).

In fact, Peter warns us about these afflictions.  “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you” (I Pet. 4: 12).  It is not a strange thing at all, but part of the plan of God for our perfection.  It is in the script.  Already conceived by Him and written down.  After all, Christ is “the Author and Finisher of our faith.”  And all the additions to that faith (Heb. 12: 2).  Yes, and in that same verse, it tells how Christ “for the joy set before Him, endured the cross.”  As our example, He has endured all the sufferings before us.

These “fiery trials” that will try us will come, and we must endure it, for we are “partakers of Christ’s sufferings” (I Pet. 4: 13).  These sufferings are those trials we endure for His sake.  These are “also the afflictions Christians must undergo in behalf of the same cause for which Christ patiently endured” (Thayer’s Lexicon).

So we see that “patience” is much bigger and much more profound as we discover its meaning in the inspired scriptures of truth.  We now see that it is an attribute of God’s presence, and we should seek to understand it according to God’s thought of what it truly is.

Patience is enduring the sufferings needed to bring God’s plan to full fruition.  Enduring at all costs in the face of hardships–God did that first.  It is His “divine nature” we are to add, after all.  He did it first.  He endured the insolence of one of His created angelic beings to provide the sufferings for us all.  He endured the old nature, especially of His chosen people Israel (12 tribes), witnessed in the Old Testament.  He endured the shame of their sins and whoredoms.

And now He asks us, the little flock, who He knows will answer the call, for He has chosen us–He asks us to add this part of His wonderful divine nature–patience, endurance.

Us enduring, enduring, enduring the sufferings entailed in these finite earthly decaying mortal bodies.  As one of their own poets said, enduring “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”

We now have been called into the “fellowship of His sufferings,” taking part of the same things He endured (Phil. 3: 10).

Agape love endures all things.  Like putting up with the evil men in control of this world system–that’s part of enduring the sufferings.  Wanting to do something immediately to banish the evil and injustice from this earth, and knowing that we now must wait on Yahweh–who will do this–but in His own time, according to His timetable.  That’s part of the sufferings.

Enduring.  Continuing undaunted in our pilgrimage to the City of Immortality.  Unwavering.  Stedfast.  Unswayed by the temptations to tarry here or take respite there.

Enduring by faith, entrusting our whole earthly existence on the seemingly impossible assumption and belief that somewhere an invisible Creator has life all mapped and charted for all of us.

And that He has sent us out on this dangerous dark sea, as we trust this invisible Spirit as our Captain to guide our hands on the rudder and sails, believing that He will somehow lead us through the angry storms and deposit us in a warm protected harbor where a wave is a mere warm froth lapping at our toes.

And so we wait.  And endure all things, trusting the Captain by trusting His word, which is the blueprint, the Plan and Purpose.

Kenneth Wayne Hancock

1.  Thayer’s Lexicon (http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G5281&t=KJV).

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“Thy Will Be Done in Earth”–The Coming of the Sons of God

     God’s will is to present His Sons to the world at the end of this age.  It is His wish and purpose, and it will be accomplished “in earth as it is in heaven” (see The Will of God–His Wish and Desire at   https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2008/02/28/the-will-of-god-his-wish-his-desire/ ). 

     God’s will is His game plan.  He will win.  The Kingdom of Light will overtake and destroy the kingdom of darkness.  Like Gideon’s army, He will use human beings that are weak and powerless in their own eyes.  “Not many mighty” according to the flesh will He use.

     His will is to magify Himself in a body of many sons and daughters.  He is the Seed, and there will be a great harvest of “many sons unto glory.” 

     This is what the scriptures are all about–the overcoming of evil, which Yahweh created (Isa. 45:7), by humans who know they need Him to overcome the adversary the devil.

     Through this victory of good over evil, He will receive great glory as He helps His body of sons and daughters do this.  His name will be honored and glorified.  All will know that Yahshua means Yah Is the Savior.  And He shall enact what His very name means as He saves us from destruction in the latter days.  Yah will deliver us out of the ashes of a smoldering world system.

     Christ wanted us to think about this and pray to Yahweh with this understanding.  This is why  He included “the Father’s will” and how it is coming to pass in the earth as it is in heaven.

     But to comprehend His will, one must understand and believe pre-destination and pre-determination.  In short, they mean having a destiny lined out, determined, and known before it takes place. 

     Thus it is with the sons of God.  Being in in His heart, their destiny is all written out in  heaven before it takes place here on earth.  It is scripted.  The book of life has been penned in heaven.  He is the “Author …of our faith (Heb. 12:2).  

     Many will reject this truth because it is not politically correct.  It disagrees with the tenets of secular humanism, the sly opiate that dopes humans into thinking that because they exist, then they must be the center of the universe.  But “my thoughts are not your thoughts,” warns Yahweh.

     The apostle Paul knew that he was an apostle only  because God had willed it.  He starts many of his epistles saying that he is an apostle “by the will of God” (I Cor. 1:1; II Cor. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Col. 1:1).  He understood that God had ordained and pre-determined him to be “conformed to the image of His Son.”

     Make no mistake about it.  God’s will includes Him purposing in Himself to insure that He multiplies Himself through many offspring. 

     We are “the called according to His purpose.  For whom he did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:28-29). 

     His will is His purpose in the earth, which is predicated on what He wrote down in the book written before the foundation of the world.  He chooses them because He knew them before, like  He did the prophet Jeremiah (1:5).  He gives these elect a destiny to become a son before they get here on earth. 

     These He calls and justifies through the cross experience.  They grow up spiritually until sanctified.  And finally, He glorifies them.  This process of spiritual growth is encripted in several key scriptural phrases that come in “threes”: “the blade, the ear, full corn in the ear;” “children, young men, fathers;” 30, 60, and 100 fold fruit (Mt. 13). 

     Christ spoke plainly about the Father’s will.  “And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given me, but raise them up at the last day.”  He promised us that He would raise us up at the last day!  He would raise up God’s sons; none would be left behind; none would be forgotten, whose names were written in the book of life.

     So, when we pray, Christ want us to have the Father’s will in mind about the coming of the sons of God, encapsulated by these words: “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”  KWH

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