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« on: May 05, 2011, 05:48:35 PM »

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From A Voice In The Wilderness

Provisions: Future

"Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended [taken possession]; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14)

"We also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body." (Romans 8:23)

The fact that our redemption isn't complete is illustrated by Paul, "The good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice...it is..sin that dwells in me...who shall deliver me from the [body] of death?" (Romans 7:19-20,24) If anyone was a "Christian" it would have been Paul. He wrote most of the NT teaching on it.

While we have become a "new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17) through the new birth (John 3:3), we are still in these earthly bodies. Remember how we learned that sin is inherited at PHYSICAL birth. (Psalms 51:5) Our new birth is a SPIRITUAL birth. (John 3:8 )

One of the things that is yet future for salvation is the transformation of our bodies. Jesus promised, "He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26) Jesus was responding to Martha about "the LAST DAY." When Jesus comes to "receive [us] to Himself" (John 14:3) those who have died will "rise first" and those alive will "be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air."(1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

When this happens, these corrupt earthly bodies will be replaced instantly (1 Corinthians 15:52) with Incorruption, Immortality, Power. A "spiritual body." (1 Corinthians 15:44) Where Paul laments the constant struggle in Romans 7 because of the two natures, flesh vs. spirit; "now" the two will be perfectly matched, "spiritual." And we will be "like Christ" because we will "see Him as He is." (1 John 3:2, 1 Corinthians 15:49)

This transformation is closely related to another future aspect of salvation; that of being "Saved From Wrath" and the "Blessed Hope." We are told that we "have now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." (Romans 5:9) The words "shall be" is future. "God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thessalonians 5:9)

What is "wrath?" "..wrath in the day of wrath and the revelation of the righteous judgment of God." (Romans 2:5) "The wrath of God is reveal from heaven." (Romans 1:18 ) "..His wrath...and the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction." (Romans 9:22) Throughout the book of "The Revelation of Jesus Christ" we see the expression "wrath of God." (Revelation 6:16-17, 14:10, 19,1 5:1, 7, 16:1) We find that the "wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience." (Ephesians 5:6) ..to judge the world. (Romans 3:6)

Only a few times in history has God's judgment been poured out upon the earth in great measure. At "Noah's flood" God destroyed all air- breathing life. (Genesis 7:22) When He brought Israel out of Egypt, He rained judgments upon Egypt, destroying their gods, saving Israel through it and bringing her out.

What is the "blessed hope and glorious appearing" of Christ? (Titus 2:13) It is the Pre-Tribulation "rapture" of the Church. God is going to judge the world and its unbelievers. His wrath is going to be poured out upon it. But He is not going to subject His Church to His wrath. Jesus speaks of "as it was in the days of Noah" (Matthew 24:38 ) and again, "as in the days of Lot." (Luke17:28-29) Noah was saved from the flood in the ark. Lot was taken out of Sodom before destruction. You notice He never says, "like it was in the days when I brought Israel out of Egypt." Israel went "through" Egypt's judgment..as they will again, through the time of God's wrath upon the world. (Malachi 3:3)

LET THERE BE NO MISUNDERSTANDING!! God's "wrath" often referred to as "the Tribulation" is not the same as the "tribulation/trials" that God allows satan to bring upon the Believer for testing. (John 16:33, Job 1:12,2:6, Luke 22:31) The trials and persecution that the Church has experienced throughout the centuries is Satan's attempts to do away with the Church. (Matthew 16:18 ) And will also occur to those who "call upon the name of the Lord" (Joel 2:32) during the Tribulation as the "beast" makes "war with" them to overcome them (Revelation 13:7), as he requires worship of the image (13:15) upon the pain of death. But that group, while being called "saints" as all believers throughout history are called "saints", is not the "Church." What is yet future, which God will spare His Church from is [GOD's] WRATH, poured upon the WORLD in JUDGMENT.

Jesus asked Martha, "Do you believe this?" VERY IMPORTANT, this question! You notice how Paul equates "having been justified by His blood" with "shall be saved from wrath through Him." (Romans 5:9) Wrath begins with the Tribulation, satan and his followers being destroyed when Christ comes (2 Thessalonians 2:8,10-12), and culminates at the Great White Throne where "anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:15)

The assurance that the Church will not endure God's wrath is the "blessed hope." "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast." (Hebrews 6:19) This word "hope" is fascinating from this standpoint. It is not.. "well.. I hope I have it; perhaps, maybe, if I'm lucky I might have it." It's a sure thing!

It has been promised. "the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 1:1) This promise for the Future was made "before time began." (Titus 1:2) And God does not lie. And since God Himself is the "guarantee" of it, through the Holy Spirit, (Ephesians 1:14) we KNOW it is sure. There is no better guarantee than God's "own" word. "Since He could swear by no greater, He swore by Himself." (Hebrews 6:13) What greater guarantee is there! What greater security!

Another way of looking at the promise is with the word "Inheritance." We are "born again" (John 3:3)...the God and Father...according to His abundant mercy has BEGOTTEN us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5) When we were born into God's family, we received an inheritance. We don't have possession of it yet. But, considering Who our Father is, it's a sure thing. It is in heaven, waiting for us.

This inheritance is received when we are "adopted." (Romans 8:23) This is a take from Greco-Roman society. A child was brought up and raised by teachers and guardians until an age predetermined by the father, at which point he came into "manhood." As a child he was heir to the father, but did not possess the inheritance...as he learned submission, obedience and did not have ready access to the father. But at the appointed time he officially was "adopted" and became the "son" with all the rights and privileges. During the time he was under tutelage, he "knew" that "one day" he would possess all, because he was "in the family." He could look forward to "that day" with "hope."

"For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus...and if you are Christ's, then you are...heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3:29) "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ..." (Romans 8:16-17)

"...if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Romans 8:17-18 ) ..so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. (Hebrews 9:28 )

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith; the salvation of your souls." (1 Peter 1:6-9)

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