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Discuss the tough questions relating to the Christian Faith. Present the Scripture in an interdenominational fashion demonstrating those things we hold in common and provoking thought whenever possible. Hopefully you will find things here that will encourage you to study more deeply that all of Scripture will be at home in your heart.


Romans 8:22 - The State of Everything
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. (A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown)

 

For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. (NASB)
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. (KJV)
For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. (NLT)
For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers together until now. (NET)
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. (ESV)

What a sad state of affairs.  The condition of everything is bondage and corruption.  Could we not understand that the fall from the garden changed all.  The future redemption will again be for all.  Therefore, all groans.  For us who belong to Christ we have our earnest expectation of His return and the new heave and new earth that will not be afflicted nor in need of groaning but rather praise to the glory of the Son.

However, this groaning is not a useless thing: Paul compared it to a woman in travail.  There is pain, but the pain will end when the child is delivered.  One day creation will be delivered, and the groaning creation will become a glorious creation!  The believer does not focus on today’s sufferings; he looks forward to tomorrow’s glory (Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 4:15–18).  Today’s groaning bondage will be exchanged for tomorrow’s glorious liberty! (The Bible exposition commentary)
He had said (Romans 8:20-21) that the condition of a Christian was one of bondage and servitude.  It was an imperfect, humiliating state; one attended with pain, sorrow, and death.  This might be regarded as a melancholy description, and the question might arise, why was not the Christian at once delivered from this?  The answer is in this verse.  “It is just the condition of everything.”  It is the manifest principle on which God governs the world.  The whole creation is in just this condition; and we are not to be surprised, therefore, if it is the condition of the believer.  It is a part of the universal system of things; it accords with everything we see; and we are not to be surprised that the church exists on the same principle of administration; in a state of bondage, imperfection, sorrow, and sighing for deliverance. (Dr. Albert Barnes)
There is an impurity, deformity, and infirmity, which the creature has contracted by the fall of man: the creation is sullied and stained, much of the beauty of the world gone.  There is an enmity of one creature to another; they are all subject to continual alteration and decay of the individuals, liable to the strokes of God's judgments upon man.  When the world was drowned, and almost all the creatures in it, surely then it was subject to vanity indeed.  The whole species of creatures is designed for, and is hastening to, a total dissolution by fire.  And it is not the least part of their vanity and bondage that they are used, or abused rather, by men as instruments of sin. (Matthew Henry)
2Pe 3:13 But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth He has promised, a world filled with God's righteousness. (NLT)
Jer 12:11 They have made it an empty wasteland; I hear its mournful cry. The whole land is desolate, and no one even cares. (NLT)

Romans 8:21 - From Bondage to Liberty
The creation itself (autē hē ktisis).  It is the hope of creation, not of the Creator.  Nature “possesses in the feeling of her unmerited suffering a sort of presentiment of her future deliverance” (Godet). (WORD PICTURES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT by Archibald Thomas Robertson)
that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (NASB)
Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (KJV)
the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay. (NLT)
that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of decay into the glorious freedom of God's children. (NET)

From bondage to liberty.  Herein lies the true concept of freedom. We often consider our freedom as an ability to do.  But the Scriptural freedom is liberty, the deliverance from the oppression and bondage of corruption.  The world system is a system held in corruption and it can and does entrap those who would hear the call her sirens.  But the promise kept, the prayer answered, is that Christ in us is greater than the world and greater still than our fallen desires.  This is not intestinal fortitude, nor anything else that can be conjured up from the flesh or the latent power of the soul.  Rather it is the true and eternal God flowing like a river of living water through the valley of dry bones that moment by moment brings us back to life.

And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world's corruption caused by human desires. (2 Peter 1:4 NLT)
From the bondage of corruption - This does not differ materially from “vanity,” Romans 8:20. It implies that this state is not a willing state, or not a condition of choice, but is one of bondage or servitude (see Romans 7:15-24); and that it is a corrupt, imperfect, perishing condition. It is one that leads to sin, and temptation, and conflict and anxiety. It is a condition often which destroys the peace, mars the happiness, dims the hope, enfeebles the faith, and weakens the love of Christians, and this is called the bondage of corruption. It is also one in which temporal death has dominion, and in the bondage of which, believers as well as unbelievers shall be held. Yet from all this bondage the children of God shall be delivered. (Dr. Albert Barnes)
The glorious liberty - Greek, The freedom of the glory of the children of God. This is,
(1) “Liberty.” It is freedom from the bondage under which the Christian groans. It will be freedom from sin; from corruption; from evil desires; from calamity; from death. The highest “freedom “in the universe is that which is enjoyed in heaven, where the redeemed are under the sovereignty and government of their king, but where they do that, and that only, which they desire. All is slavery but the service of God; all is bondage but that law which accords with the supreme wish of the soul, and where commands accord with the perfect desires of the heart.
(2) this is glorious liberty. It is encompassed with majesty; attended with honor; crowned with splendor. The heavenly world is often described as a state of glory; Note, Romans 2:10. (Dr. Albert Barnes)
I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate.  But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good.  So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.  And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  I want to do what is right, but I can't. I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.  But if I do what I don't want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.  I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.  I love God's law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind.  This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.  Oh, what a miserable person I am!  Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? (Romans 7:15-24 NLT)
But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. (Romans 2:10 NLT)

Romans 8:20 - Vanity Inflicted
Rom 8:20 For the creature was made subject to (x) vanity, not (y) willingly, but by reason (z) of him who hath subjected [the same] in (a) hope,
(x) Is subject to a vanishing and disappearing state.
(y) Not by their natural inclination.
(z) That they should obey the Creator's commandment, whom it pleased to show by their sickly state, how greatly he was displeased with man.
(a) God would not make the world subject to be cursed forever because of the sin of man, but gave it hope that it would be restored. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope (NASB)
For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, (KJV)
Against its will, all creation was subjected to God's curse. But with eager hope, (NLT)
For the creation was subjected to futility — not willingly but because of God who subjected it — in hope (NET)

We must be mindful of the literal genesis of our current estate.  When our parents fell from their paradisiacal estate, the whole creation became subject to the fall as well.  We see in the Scriptural account a host of first words, "thorns, thistles, sweat, ect., that are indicative of the pain cause by sin and the judgment justly delivered.  But we have hope that this will not remain forever but for a season.  So let us be busy making sure that none should perish.  Let us be swift of foot delivering the words of life by our words, by our actions and by the witness of our whole life.  Lives that have been delivered from the marketplace of sin into the glorious resurrection light.  Let us be the purveyors of this hope to a lost and dying world.

The word “vanity” here ματαιότης mataiotēs is descriptive of the present condition of the Christian, as frail and dying; as exposed to trials, temptations, and cares; as in the midst of conflicts, and of a world which may be emphatically pronounced vanity.  More or less, the Christian is brought under this influence; his joys are marred; his peace is discomposed; his affections wander; his life is a life of vanity and vexation. (Dr. Albert Barnes)
Rom 8:20
For the creature was made subject to vanity - The Gentile world were subject to vanity of mind; but how? not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same.  May we not say, it became vain willingly, but was made subject to vanity unwillingly?  For, let us recur to the origin of Gentilism, the confusion of languages, by reason of the attempt to build the tower of Babel; and though there are some passages in the gloss of the Targumists upon this matter that are sufficiently ridiculous, yet as to their scope and design they are worthy of notice.  “They said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, and let its head reach unto the top of heaven; and let us make a house of worship in the top of it; and let us put a sword in his hand that he may wage war for us against our enemies, before we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”  It is an ancient tradition among the Jews, that this tower was built on an idolatrous account.  The confusion of tongues, by which true religion was lost in the world, is a proof that the builders of this tower sinned against God in the highest degree.  They were inclined to vanity, i.e. idolatry, Willingly; but they were subjected to vanity Unwillingly; for this proceeded from the just indignation and vengeance of God.  From this time the world lay under heathenism till the bringing in of the Gospel, upwards of 2000 years after.  See Lightfoot. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
Rom 8:20 For the creature was made subject to vanity,.... This designs the vanity and emptiness of the minds of the Gentiles, who were without God and Christ, and the Holy Spirit, without the law and Gospel, and grace of God; also the vain conceits they had of themselves, of their wisdom, knowledge, learning, and eloquence; likewise their vain philosophy, particularly their gross idolatry, their polytheism, or worshipping of many gods; together with their divers lusts and vices, to which they were addicted, to such a degree, that they might be truly said to be made subject thereunto, being under the government of these things, slaves unto them, and in such subjection, as that they could not deliver themselves from it. (Dr. John Gill)
was made subject to vanity, not willingly — that is, through no natural principle of decay.  The apostle, personifying creation, represents it as only submitting to the vanity with which it was smitten, on man’s account, in obedience to that superior power which had mysteriously linked its destinies with man’s. (A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown)
There is an impurity, deformity, and infirmity, which has come upon the creature by the fall of man. There is an enmity of one creature to another.  And they are used, or abused rather, by men as instruments of sin. (Matthew Henry)
For the creature was made subject to vanity.  The creation was subjected to vanity; i. e., became empty; lost its original significance.  The Greek word rendered "vanity," means "to seek without finding." God placed "the creation" under man's dominion, and when man fell the whole was subject to vanity by God. (The People's New Testament (1891) by B. W. Johnson)
To vanity (tēi mataiotēti).  Dative case. Rare and late word, common in lxx.  From mataios, empty, vain. Eph 4:17; 2Pe 2:18. (WORD PICTURES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT by Archibald Thomas Robertson)
Eph 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, (KJV)
2Pe 2:18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. (KJV)
Gen 3:17-19 And to the man He said, "Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you.  All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.  It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains.  By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return." (NLT)
Gen 6:13 So God said to Noah, "I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence.  Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth! (NLT)
Job 12:6-12 But robbers are left in peace, and those who provoke God live in safety—though God keeps them in His power.  "Just ask the animals, and they will teach you.  Ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you.  Speak to the earth, and it will instruct you.  Let the fish in the sea speak to you.  For they all know that my disaster has come from the hand of the LORD.  For the life of every living thing is in His hand, and the breath of every human being. (NLT)
Isa 24:5-6 The earth suffers for the sins of its people, for they have twisted God's instructions, violated His laws, and broken His everlasting covenant.  Therefore, a curse consumes the earth.  Its people must pay the price for their sin.  They are destroyed by fire, and only a few are left alive. (NLT)
Jer 12:4 How long must this land mourn?  Even the grass in the fields has withered.  The wild animals and birds have disappeared because of the evil in the land.  For the people have said, "The LORD doesn't see what's ahead for us!" (NLT)
Jer 12:11 They have made it an empty wasteland; I hear its mournful cry.  The whole land is desolate, and no one even cares. (NLT)
Jer 14:5-6 Even the doe abandons her newborn fawn because there is no grass in the field.  The wild donkeys stand on the bare hills panting like thirsty jackals.  They strain their eyes looking for grass, but there is none to be found." (NLT)
Hos 4:3 That is why your land is in mourning, and everyone is wasting away.  Even the wild animals, the birds of the sky, and the fish of the sea are disappearing. (NLT)
Joe 1:18 How the animals moan with hunger!  The herds of cattle wander about confused, because they have no pasture.  The flocks of sheep and goats bleat in misery. (NLT)

Are You Sharing the True Gospel?

What is the gospel? I don't think most people know. Some people may think most Americans have heard the gospel, but I beg to differ. I don’t think they have. I have heard a lot of preachers talk about the gospel and not give the gospel. We have to be very careful that we give an accurate presentation. Otherwise, it could have a disastrous effect. We don’t want to edit God’s Word. We don’t need to try to make it more appealing by taking things out of it. Nor do we need to make it more complex by adding things to it. We just need to declare it for what it is and let God do His work.

As much as possible, we should seek to build a bridge and be tactful. Then, having established that, we need to share the truth of the good news of Jesus Christ. The Bible warns of a different gospel that people can believe. The apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel” (Galatians 1:6). Let’s make sure we give out the true gospel.

Here is the problem: People are not going to fully appreciate the good news until they first know the bad news. The bad news is that we have all have sinned against God and have fallen short of His standards. And if we don't turn from that sin, the Bible says that we will spend eternity separated from God in hell.

Someone once asked C. H. Spurgeon to sum up the Christian faith in a few words. C. H. Spurgeon did it in four: "Jesus died for me." If you know that much, then you are ready to share the gospel.

Taken from “The True Gospel” by Harvest Ministries.

Romans 8:19 - Eager Expectation or Annexed to Glory
In Rom 8:19 he uses a wonderful word for eager expectation.  It is apokaradokia (<G603>) and it describes the attitude of a man who scans the horizon with head thrust forward, eagerly searching the distance for the first signs of the dawn break of glory. (William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)
For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. (NASB)
For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. (KJV)
For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who His children really are. (NLT)
For the creation eagerly waits for the revelation of the sons of God. (NET)

I suppose it is a bit like the architect wanting to see the long awaited completion of an intricate project.  But here it is the creation (project) itself that longs to see its destiny.  We are that project that waits in hope for the day when we will see with our own eyes what the Lord of Glory has prepared for us because of His wondrous Grace.  The very thought makes my heart flutter.  So far above our current post paradisiacal estate where impurity, infirmity, and deformity rule the day and the headlines define the spot where even the saints have fallen into the ditch and sullied themselves by bathing in the filthy water of a lost and fallen world.  All the while the creation itself groans to be delivered from the agony.  Yet we in this modern age have little concept as to the great sufferings made manifest in ancient times where our forefathers in the faith were despised, rejected, counted as outcasts, and even slain (The People's New Testament (1891) by B. W. Johnson, paraphrase mine).  What then is the point to ponder?  Is your heart all a flutter in earnest expectation?  If not, confess your fallen estate (each day) and find your earnest expectation of glory awaiting you in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior and friend.

For the earnest expectation - ἀποκαραδοκία apokaradokia.  This word occurs only here and in Phil 1:20, “According to my earnest expectation and my hope,” etc. It properly denotes a state of earnest desire to see any object when the head is thrust forward; an intense anxiety; an ardent wish; and is thus well employed to denote the intense interest with which a Christian looks to his future inheritance. (Dr. Albert Barnes)
Php 1:20 For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past.  And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. (NLT)
Earnest expectation (ἀποκαραδοκία)
Only here and Phil 1:20. From ἀπό away κάρα the head, δοκεῖν to watch.  A watching with the head erect or outstretched. Hence a waiting in suspense.  Ἀπό from, implies abstraction, the attention turned from other objects.  The classical student will recall the watchman in the opening of Aeschylus' “Agamemnon,” awaiting the beacon which is to announce the capture of Troy. (Vincent's Word Studies, Marvin R. Vincent, D.D., Baldwin Professor of Sacred Literature in Union Theological Seminary New York.)
He teaches us that there is an example of the patience, to which he had exhorted us, even in mute creatures. For, to omit various interpretations, I understand the passage to have this meaning — that there is no element and no part of the world which, being touched, as it were, with a sense of its present misery, does not intensely hope for a resurrection. (John Calvin)
In these words the apostle describes a fourth illustrious branch of the happiness of believers, namely, a title to the future glory. This is fitly annexed to our sonship; for as the adoption of sons entitles us to that glory, so the disposition of sons fits and prepares us for it. (Matthew Henry)
“The apostle, fired with the thought of the future glory of the saints, pours forth this splendid passage, in which he represents the whole creation groaning under its present degradation, and looking and longing for the revelation of this glory as the end and consummation of its existence” [Hodge]. (A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown)
Isa 65:17 "Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore. (NLT)
Act 3:21 For He must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through His holy prophets. (NLT)
2Pe 3:11-13 Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, He will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth He has promised, a world filled with God's righteousness. (NLT)
Rev 21:1-5 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, "Look, God's home is now among His people! He will live with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever." And the One sitting on the throne said, "Look, I am making everything new!" And then He said to me, "Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true." (NLT)
Mal 3:17-18 "They will be My people," says the LORD of Heaven's Armies. "On the day when I act in judgment, they will be My own special treasure. I will spare them as a father spares an obedient child. Then you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not." (NLT)
Mat 25:31-46 "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit upon His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in His presence, and He will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at His right hand and the goats at His left. "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed Me. I was thirsty, and you gave Me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited Me into your home. I was naked, and you gave Me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for Me. I was in prison, and you visited Me.' "Then these righteous ones will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see You hungry and feed You? Or thirsty and give You something to drink? Or a stranger and show You hospitality? Or naked and give You clothing? When did we ever see You sick or in prison and visit You?' "And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these My brothers and sisters, you were doing it to Me!' "Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, 'Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn't feed Me. I was thirsty, and you didn't give Me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn't invite Me into your home. I was naked, and you didn't give Me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn't visit Me.' "Then they will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help You?' "And He will answer, 'I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these My brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help Me.' "And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life." (NLT)
1Jn 3:2 Dear friends, we are already God's children, but He has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He really is. (NLT)

Romans 8:18 - Considering Our Future
“True, we must suffer with Christ, if we would partake of His glory; but what of that?  For if such sufferings are set over against the coming glory, they sink into insignificance.” (A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown)
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (NASB)
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (KJV)
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later. (NLT)
For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the glory that will be revealed to us. (NET)

To reckon or consider (logízomai) is the result of considered deliberation.  When put in the balance scales what we suffer in this life is not worthy to be compared with the future glory to be revealed.  Though the trials of life may seem all encompassing, they are temporary and do not last forever.  However, the future glory is eternal.

Rom 8:18 (20) For I (t) reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
(20) Thirdly, that this glory which we look for surpasses a thousand times the misery of our afflictions.
(t) All being well considered, I gather. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)
In the saints when they shall have received the inheritance which God bestows in Christ.  The comforts of the saint in the midst of suffering are now given: (1) The hope of glory for which all creation, ruined by the Fall, is looking. (2) The present help of the Spirit. (3) The overruling providence of God. (The People's New Testament (1891) by B. W. Johnson)
2Co 4:17-18 For our momentary, light suffering is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison because we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen.  For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. (NET)
1Pe 1:6-7 This brings you great joy, although you may have to suffer for a short time in various trials.  Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold — gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away — and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (NET)

Romans 8:17 - The "MEET" Thermometer
Joint heirs - That we may know it is a great inheritance which God will give us for he hath given a great one to his Son.  If we suffer with him - Willingly and cheerfully, for righteousness' sake.  This is a new proposition, referring to what follows. (John Wesley)
and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. (NASB)
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (KJV)
And since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering. (NLT)
And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ) — if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him. (NET)
Meet
MEET, a. [L. convenio.] Fit; suitable; proper; qualified; convenient; adapted, as to a use or purpose.
Ye shall pass over armed before your brethren, the children of Israel, all that are meet for the war. Deu 3.
It was meet that we should make merry--Luke 15.
Bring forth fruits meet for repentance. Mat 3. (Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary of American English)

But if…(ei de) the two little words that make a huge difference.  No one in their right mind would actively seek suffering.  There is a diagnosis within the annals of medical science that describes those who are led by biological malfunction to follow such a path.  However, those who would journey along the "highway of holiness" (who is Christ) will concurrently travel also the "via de la Rosa."  Should it be that we would walk along any other way?  Should we endeavor to cling to the comforts of this cosmos (satanic system)?  But notice that it is suffering with Christ is that of which I speak NOT the sufferings of sin.

If someone thrust a "meet" thermometer into our soul would they find us at the proper operating temperature or would they discover that the ice age had begun?  Do our neighbors see us as the light of Christ's love or a bunch of uppity religious prigs who ate alum-soaked prunes?  We are quick to want the power of Christ's resurrection but slow to want the fellowship of His sufferings as though Christian character were something to be swallowed in a pharmaceutical capsule rather than annealed after first passing through the refiners fire.  Would not the armor be pierced by the fiery darts if it were half-baked?  The thermometer can be found in the First Epistle of John, IF we say that we have not sinned THEN we have called almighty God a liar AND His Word (Christ) has no place in our hearts BUT if we confess our sins we are cleansed and become a beacon of His Light, a reflection of His Glory to a lost an dying world sharing fully the joy of the saints.

Prig
PRIG, n.
1. A pert, conceited, saucy, pragmatical fellow. (Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary of American English)
Anneal
ANNE'AL, v.t.
1. To heat; to heat, as glass and iron for the purpose of rendering them less brittle, or to fix colors; vulgarly called nealing. This is done by heating the metal nearly to fluidity, in an oven or furnace, and suffering it to cool gradually. Metals made hard and brittle by hammering. by this process recover their malleability. The word is applied also to the baking of tiles. (Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary of American English)
I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead. I want to suffer with Him, sharing in His death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! (Philippians 3:10-11 NLT)
Alum
AL'UM, n. [L. alumen.]
A triple sulphate of alumina and potassa.  This substance is white, transparent and very astringent; but seldom found pure or crystallized.  This salt is usually prepared by roasting and lixiviating certain clays containing pyrites, and to the lye adding a certain quantity of potassa; the salt is then obtained by crystallization.  Alum is of great use in medicine and the arts. In medicine, it is used as an astringent; internally, in hemoptoe, diarrhea, and dysentery; externally, as a styptic applied to bleeding vessels, and as an escharotic.  In the arts, it is used in dyeing to fix colors; in making candles, for hardening the tallow; in tanning, for restoring the cohesion of skins. (Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary of American English)
We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.  This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all.  So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth.  But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.  If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.  But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that His word has no place in our hearts.  (1 John 1:4-10 NLT)
That we suffer with him - Greek, “If we suffer together, that we may also be glorified together.”  If we suffer in his cause; bear afflictions as he did; are persecuted and tried for the same thing; and thus show that we are united to him.  It does not mean that we suffer to the same extent that he did, but we may imitate him in the kind of our sufferings, and in the spirit with which they are borne; and thus show that we are united to him. (Dr. Albert Barnes)
“We are co-heirs with Christ, provided, in entering on our inheritance, we follow him in the same way in which he has gone before.”  And he thus made mention of Christ, because he designed to pass over by these steps to an encouraging strain, — “God’s inheritance is ours, because we have by his grace been adopted as his children; and that it may not be doubtful, its possession as been already conferred on Christ, whose partners we are become: but Christ came to it by the cross; then we must come to it in the same manner.” (John Calvin)
If so be that we suffer with him - Observe, says Dr. Taylor, how prudently the apostle advances to the harsh affair of suffering.  He does not mention it till he had raised up their thoughts to the highest object of joy and pleasure - the happiness and glory of a joint inheritance with the ever-blessed Son of God.
We are heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with him.  This, with the additional consideration that we suffer with Christ, or, as he himself suffered, would greatly qualify the transitory afflictions of this world, and dispose them to attend to the other arguments he had to offer. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
If so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together: Christ and his people being one, he the head, and they the members, suffer together; when he suffered, they suffered with him and in him, as their head and representative; and they partake of the virtue and efficacy of his sufferings; and they also suffer afflictions, many of them at least of the same kind with Christ, only with these differences; his were penal evils, theirs not; his were attended with a vast sense of wrath and terror, theirs oftentimes with, joy and comfort; his were meritorious, not so theirs. Moreover, many of their sufferings are for the sake of Christ and his Gospel; on the other hand, by reason of that union which is between Christ and believers, he suffers with them, he reckons their afflictions his, and sympathizes with them; and the consideration of this greatly animates and encourages them in their sufferings, and especially when they observe that they shall be "glorified together"; not with his essential glory, nor with his mediatorial glory, but with that glory which his Father has given him for them. There is a glorification of the saints in Christ, and a glorification of them by Christ, and a glorification of them with Christ, which will consist in likeness to him, and in the everlasting vision and enjoyment of him. (Dr. John Gill)
Mat 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow Me. (NLT)
Luk 24:26 Wasn't it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering His glory?" (NLT)
Joh 12:25-26 Those who love their life in this world will lose it.  Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.  Anyone who wants to be My disciple must follow Me, because My servants must be where I am.  And the Father will honor anyone who serves Me. (NLT)
Act 14:22 where they strengthened the believers.  They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God. (NLT)
2Co 4:8-12 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.  Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.  Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies.  So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you. (NLT)
Php 1:29 For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for Him. (NLT)
2Ti 2:10-14 So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen.  This is a trustworthy saying: If we die with Him, we will also live with Him.  If we endure hardship, we will reign with Him.  If we deny Him, He will deny us. If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is.  Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God's presence to stop fighting over words.  Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them. (NLT)
 

Romans 8:16 - Witness
The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, (NASB)
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (KJV)
For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children (NLT)
The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God's children. (NET)

It is a providential act of Grace that allows such testimony to our hearts.  Were it not so we would be in the same situation as those who remain under the law.  C. S. Lewis hits the nail on the head with his comparison of gravity with human nature.  The fact that we do good proves nothing.  The fact that we do evil proves everything!  Left to ourselves we remain helpless.  As children of God we are blessed.  Our blessedness is totally undeserved yet complete in everyway.  Our witness is God Himself testifying in the most personal way.  Without His testimony we would not be able to comprehend our adoption let alone the length, breadth, and depth of His loved conveyed—the ever expanding universe of Grace living within our hearts.

“The law of gravity tells you what stones do if you drop them; but the Law of Human Nature tells you what human beings ought to do and do not.” C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
G4828
συμμαρτυρέω
summarturéō; contracted summarturṓ, fut. summarturḗsō, from sún (G4862), together, with, and marturéō (G3140), to witness. To witness with another, testify with. With the dat. (Romans 8:16; Romans 9:1; Revelation 22:18 [TR]); used in an absolute sense (Romans 2:15). (Complete Word Study Dictionary, General Editor: Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D.)
Beareth witness with our spirit (συμμαρτυρεῖ τῷ πνεύματι ἡμῶν). This rendering assumes the concurrent testimony of the human spirit with that of the divine Spirit. Others, however, prefer to render to our spirit, urging that the human spirit can give no testimony until acted upon by the Spirit of God. Vincent, M. R. Word studies in the New Testament
Rom 9:1 I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, (NASB)
Rev 22:18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; (NASB)
Rom 2:15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, (NASB)
Gal 5:22-23 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (NLT)
But Paul means, that the Spirit of God gives us such a testimony, that when he is our guide and teacher, our spirit is made assured of the adoption of God: for our mind of its own self, without the preceding testimony of the Spirit, could not convey to us this assurance.  There is also here an explanation of the former verse; for when the Spirit testifies to us, that we are the children of God, he at the same time pours into our hearts such confidence, that we venture to call God our Father.  And doubtless, since the confidence of the heart alone opens our mouth, except the Spirit testifies to our heart respecting the paternal love of God, our tongues would be dumb, so that they could utter no prayers.  For we must ever hold fast this principle, — that we do not rightly pray to God, unless we are surely persuaded in our hearts, that he is our Father, when we so call him with our lips.  To this there is a corresponding part, — that our faith has no true evidence, except we call upon God.  It is not then without reason that Paul, bringing us to this test, shows that it then only appears how truly any one believes, when they who have embraced the promise of grace, exercise themselves in prayers. (John Calvin)

Lack of Assurance
The second half of last century found many circles of professing Christians on the borders of the Slough of Despond. in many companies the full assurance of salvation was looked upon as a species of fanaticism or as carnal presumption.  Unduly occupied with themselves, ill-instructed upon the “two natures” in the Christian, thousands of poor souls regarded doubts and fears, sighs and groans, as the highest evidence of a regenerate state; but those being mixed with worldly and fleshly lustings, the subjects were afraid to affirm they were children of God.  To meet this situation many ill-trained evangelists and teachers sought to direct attention to Christ and His “finished work,” and to get their hearers’ confidence placed upon the bare Word of God.  While one evil was corrected another was committed: while the letter of Scripture was honored, the work of the Spirit was (unwittingly) dishonored. Supposing they had a remedy which was sure to work in all cases alike, a superficial work resulted, the aftermath of which we are now reaping.  Thousands of souls who give no evidence of being born again are quite confident that Christ has saved them. (Arthur W. Pink)

It is easy to understand how we have come to the place where the church universal markets a false salvation and with it a false sense of assurance.  We don't want folks to feel left out of the greatest gift ever given.  With our western mentality we try to placate fears and misgivings with truth from the Word (which is a good thing).  However, the ministry of the Holy Spirit is assurance.  It is not for us to try to make folks feel better but rather to point out to them why it is the feel poorly.  If we doubt our salvation, there is good reason for us to do so!  It may be a true absence of saving faith, besetting sin or an enemy attack that would bring a soul to have such doubts.  These questions may only be answered by the "Earnest" who lives within.  We ought to remember then that Grace is dependent upon nothing or no one!


I'll Be Damned

"I was told by those I depended on and thought could have informed me right that if I only said, 'Lord, have mercy on me' when I came to die, it would be enough to save me, but O how wretchedly I find myself mistaken to my eternal sorrow. Alas! I called for mercy on my deathbed but found it was too late. This cursed devil here that told me just before that I was safe enough then told me it was too late, and hell must be my portion and I find it is."

"He who intends to go to heaven when he dies must walk in the ways of holiness while he lives."

(Visions of Heaven and Hell, John Bunyan)

"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:" (Hebrews 12:14 KJV)

"Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord." (Hebrews 12:14 NASB)

"Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord." (Hebrews 12:14 NLT)

"Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, for without it no one will see the Lord." (Hebrews 12:14 NET)

"Yes, mark it well that Christ is 'received' as Lord. Oh, how far, far below the New Testament standard is this modern way of begging sinners to receive Christ as their own personal 'Savior.'  If the reader will consult his concordance, he will find that in every passage where the two titles are found together it is always 'Lord and Savior,' and never vice versa."

"And Mary said, 'My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has begun to rejoice in God my Savior, because he has looked upon the humble state of his servant.'" (Luke 1:46-47 NLT)

"For thus an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be richly provided for you." (2 Peter 1:11 NLT)

"For if after they have escaped the filthy things of the world through the rich knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they again get entangled in them and succumb to them, their last state has become worse for them than their first." (2 Peter 2:20 NLT)

"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To him be the honor both now and on that eternal day." (2 Peter 3:18 NLT)

"Until the ungodly are sensible of the exceeding sinfulness of their vile course of self-will and self-pleasing, until they are genuinely broken down and penitent over it before God, until they are willing to forsake the world for Christ, until they have resolved to come under His government, for such to depend upon Him for pardon and life is not faith, but blatant presumption, it is but to add insult to injury.  And for any such to take His holy name upon their polluted lips and profess to be His followers is the most terribly blasphemy, and comes perilously nigh to committing that sin for which there is no forgiveness.  Alas, alas, that modern evangelism is encouraging and producing just such hideous and Christ-dishonoring monstrosities." Arthur W. Pink, Practical Christianity

"But what does it say? 'The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart' (that is, the word of faith that we preach), because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation. For the scripture says, 'Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.'" (Romans 10:8-11 NLT)

It is the heart that God quickens (makes alive) to see the love that stooped at Calvary (Grace).  A love that transforms the heart and makes it brand new. Who are we that turn away from each opportunity brought from heavens gate to partake of such indescribable love when there are those who said no but once, and now burn in unquenchable fire?


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