Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Raising Children as the Lord Raises Us

There is something that is truly an important topic for me: discipline. With the way I was disciplined growing up (the way many of you might have been as well), I wanted to make clear how my wife and I not only will raise our children, but do so for the children in the school we manage—applying this to all children in our lives.

Although Kelly and now have a child to raise of our own, the Lord has also placed us in an environment where we have figuratively “adopted” children of our own. This is how we feel having the responsibility of 140+ children at the school we oversee: Crosspoint Academy. And what we are learning is how to “raise” children of differing ages through life—and for me, this really is a demonstration and learning experience of how God our Father raises us as His children. How He raises me (all of us) is truly how Kelly and I need to be raising these children as well.

One of these ways in the school is the approach adopted by many schools called: Positive Behavior Intervention and Support. In brief, what this entails is encouraging good behaviour through a focus on rewarding positive behavior in lieu of a punishment system of bad behaviour—in a sense, focusing attention on the positive, not the negative. Oftentimes, the reason a child acts out is just for attention. If they are punished (being hit or spanked or demeaned) for what they have done, in the child’s eye, they have been rewarded with what they seek: attention. However, that same “attention reward” the child seeks can be achieved though the positive behaviours the child does or can be guided into doing.

What struck me about this scientific & psychological approach is how this mimics how God our Father guides and treats us (all people) as children. But this is not what I had been taught in life. I had been taught and raised up in life through the approach of: “spare the rod, spoil the child”—likened to this biblical passage:

Proverbs 13:24
He who spares his rod, hates his son; but he who loves him, disciplines him promptly.

In my life, this often meant more than one spanking—whether by hand, a belt, a wooden spoon, hair brush, slipper, or by a cane at school. But is God’s punishing hand of discipline how he truly disciplines me & us? No!

Two things to note about that verse is that the rod being discussed is a shepherd’s staff. As this video shows, the staff is used to gently reach out and guide or direct a sheep that may be stepping away from the group as they travel. It is not used to hit or hurt the sheep, but just as a gentle boundary to keep the sheep with the group and where the shepherd is trying to lead them to—often “greener pastures” (Psalms 23:1-2). Exactly as the Lord does.

Secondly, the word “promptly” means early—early in the child’s life. But it also means diligently; for as a parent, we must be diligent, having or showing care and conscientiousness. It is important to make sure we guide and direct our children early in life. In doing so, it just saves us and them from having to correct behaviours later in life (including the removal of mis-taught / mis-learned strongholds) that may get rooted, making it more difficult to remove or correct.

But even if we do pass down to our children unintentional (or intentional) iniquities, God’s Grace is there for them as well. We know He never holds our faults or the faults of our parents against us. He watches over and takes care of those handed-down iniquities of the children and of the parents.

Unfortunately, we can hold true for ourselves the way the Lord had to deal with His chosen people in the Old Testament through strife, sickness, and death. But we do not live in the Old Testament—nor were we ever under the Law! None of us are under the Law. The Law was given to a specific group of people’s during a specific season (time-frame) that has since ended and never applied to us. His Grace has remained in existence from the beginning, even to those outside the Law during the time of the Law.

God is Agape Love and Grace. And what Jesus demonstrated while on this earth is the true Nature and Heart of the Father: a healer, a forgiver, and one who does not judge us. Everything Jesus did is what He saw His Father do; and none of it was putting sickness on anyone, stoning or physically punishing anyone, killing anyone, or judging anyone. This is His True self and how He treats us. These are the guidelines that the Lord follows with us.

God our Father cannot punish us, because His Wrath was poured out on Jesus Christ and all the sins of our flesh were forgiven. Since we exist in perpetual forgiveness of our sins, how is He justified in punishing us…for He cannot break His Word and Covenant through Christ Jesus with us. He is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34, Romans 2:11, Ephesians 6:9)—in that He cannot treat anyone differently than anyone else. All are Righteous in Christ and therefore He cannot treat us differently. The only way He can treat us and does treat us is in His Agape Love.

So then, how does the Lord discipline us? Through His Word. This is the ONLY way.

2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for teaching and instruction, for proof, for restoration and correction, with regard to training by righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Colossians 3:14-16
And above all these things put on [Agape Love], which is the bond of perfectness. And let [God's peace towards you] rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; [letting it] teach and admonish yourself with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs; singing with Grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Ephesians 5:18-20
...but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 6:9
And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is [forbearing threatening] in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

On a side note for what is said in Hebrews 12:1-12 regarding the Lord “chastening” us as children. The words chastening used in those passages are the Greek words: paideia, paideutēs, and paideuō. These words are defined as training & educating (cultivating the mind), instructing, teaching, and to train & correct with words. In the context of God’s Agape Love and demonstrations of what Jesus did to others, “chastening” has nothing to do with physical punishment or scourging.

Hebrews 12:1-11
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaks unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening TEACHING of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked GENTLY CORRECTED of him: For whom the Lord loves he chastens TEACHES, and scourges [even as a father the son in whom he delights] (Proverbs 3:12). If ye endure chastening TRAINING / EDUCATION, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens TEACHES not? But if ye be without chastisement TEACHING, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected TAUGHT / INSTRUCTED us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened TAUGHT us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening TEACHING for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

He does not hurt us! He teaches and instructs us through His goodness and kindness, not wrath. There is no fear in, of, from, and to the Lord.

Romans 2:4
…[do you not know] that the goodness and kindness of God leads [a person] to repentance?

1 Corinthians 2:12-13
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual (worldly) with spiritual (Godly).

So we are left with God leading us, training us, and educating us in and by His Word and the Holy Ghost in Goodness and Kindness. This is the most powerful tool He has for us, because the Word and the Holy Ghost delve into every aspect of our life physically & spiritually:

Hebrews 4:12
For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and [will] of the heart.

Because of what Jesus Christ accomplished for us, we have His ability to change our heart and change our life. We can achieve all He made us to be as New Creations in Him. But we can only achieve this when we don’t have a fear of God’s wrath, but live knowing He is Love and He is not angry with us. If we fear God (not talking about respecting Him, but a terror / fear of Him), we refrain from coming close to Him and creating a true, trusting, and open relationship with Him. He has adopted us as His children, never forsaking us into abandonment again!

Romans 5:1
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:15
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but we have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

This is the same kind of adoption we must have with our own children and any children in our lives. How we treat children affects them (positive or negative) for the rest of their lives. This happened to me, to you, and to everyone on his earth.

When we physically or verbally punish our children, we create misunderstanding in the child’s soul, and inevitably, fear. This fear, though it may temporarily disrupt a behavioural pattern, creates a sense of abandonment, not closeness associated with God’s adoption. And moreso, fear never is an absolute deterrent.

We can plainly see this in our everyday life: neither jail time, death sentences, warning labels on alcohol / cigarette packages, or pictures of rotted teeth at the dentist has nullified all the behavioural problems associated with crime, abuse, addiction, and poor hygiene (self-care). We must never use fear as this only provokes others towards wrath (their anger towards others or back to the source). It creates division, not unity.

Ephesians 6:4
And, you fathers (parents), provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the training and exhortation of the Lord.

We must always use Love. And if there has been fear created, we eliminate that fear through Love through His Spirit in us (God’s Agape Love):

1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear hath torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.

So I take all this now and apply it to my life as a parent and “parent” over the children at the school and in my everyday. And this often takes much Spiritual Patience—just as the Lord does with me. And how this understanding started for me, is Him revealing to me the correlation between me as a parent and Him as a parent.

When I see the children at school behaving inappropriately, or carelessly, I can foresee the consequences to their actions because I have either experienced it myself, or just have more knowledge and experience in understanding than they have. And this was the revelation to me! Because I, as a child of God my Father, He knows more than me for me and my situation. Yet, even though I mess up or don’t hear Him clearly, He never is angry with me, nor is out to punish me. I am like a child who does not always understand the how’s or why’s of life; but my Father does! And it is not my duty to know all the why’s or how’s; my duty is to believe Him and just do what He asks. Obedience.

And the only way I am willing to be obedient is if I trust Him. And the only way I can trust Him is knowing He is not angry with me. This is His True Agape Love for me: for God IS Love (1 John 4:16).

Fear also leads a child to self-condemnation. It creates an expectancy towards perfection; that when not achieved (to avoid punishment), then the child developed self-doubt, shame, and a sense of failure. They then condemn themselves as being not good enough. Yet, we need to establish a trust through Love that brings the child close even when they make a mistake. That they feel they can approach me without feeling they are going to get punished. This is the same approach the Lord takes.

1 John 3:21
When we are confident towards God, we won't condemn ourself in our heart.

If I fear Him, how can I be confident towards Him. And if I can’t be confident that He is not going to punish me, I fear Him and believe I am not good enough for Him. I condemn myself in my heart.

And if I fear Him, why would I obey Him? If my child, or any child fears me, why would they want to obey me as a parent? When I eliminate fear and establish trust, then all that is needed are words of guidance and insight to steer and guide the child.

The Lord gently stretches out His guiding hand to gently keep me (as His sheep) in the correct direction. And we, as sheep, also hear and understand our shepherd’s voice to know where we need to be and the safe direction He is leading us. Now that is the gentle and kind Father I have come to know! And this is the kind and gentle parent I want to be—at home, at school, and anywhere!

God Bless (as He does),

Chris Badenhorst

Friday, May 26, 2017

Misunderstanding and Misinterpretation

Through my personal studies, as well as hearing others speak and seeing in their writings, I have come to notice that with the many Bible Translations available for our benefit, there are times when interpretations from the original language aren't as accurate as the original is. And we must allow ourselves to question why some translations give the meanings behind the original words they do; and question why they add / leave out words in scripture, and also leave out verses.


*** Related: "If It's In The Bible?" ***


Though this by no means is being critical of the Bible or the Lord, it is being cautious of translations. Now, I do not have actual answers to why some are amiss, but I can only take note when they are revealed. And it must be duly noted that these few misinterpretations and misunderstandings that follow, do not change the Biblical truth that it is only through Christ that one is saved. But what they can do is change or confuse one's understanding of God the Father. He is Agape Love, as is both Jesus Christ (which He demonstrated in His ministry) and the Holy Ghost—Three in One, of One Accord.

When we hold this Agape Love identity as the Truth, we can analyse scripture in that Truth. Whatever filter we use to view scripture with is what we will tend to prove our filter with--if our filter is of a sinner, we will focus on sin; if guilt, on guilt; if Love, on Love; if as in righteousness, righteousness. The latter two is what the Lord sees us as, and those should be our filters (or more accurately, clear view without filters).

So then, when we look at scripture, if some passages don't line up with those Truths of Love and Righteousness, it's good to dig into the original to find out the truth. And we must understand too, that before Christ (who revealed the full nature of God the Father to us) we had only partial understandings of Him. He was a mystery, continually revealed to us through the Law and the Prophets. However, the Old Testament only demonstrates an incomplete and increasing reveal on who He is. Whom He is, is who Christ demonstrated Him to be. No longer a mystery at all!

We must also understand that God’s Grace has never ceased from reality. And though we do see His wrath in scripture under the Mosaic Covenant of the Law, that Law only applied to those under the Law (the Israelites from the time of Moses until the Cross). During that time, God had to abide by that covenant when the Israelites disobeyed. But sin is not imputed when there is no law (Romans 5:13). And since we are not under the Law, no punishment for sins can be imputed to us. His Love and Righteousness is constantly upon us.

And I feel the more we break down scripture with a clear perception of Love and Righteousness, the more we can break down some of the confusing aspects we come across in scripture. Here are some of these instances in scripture:

No Generational Curses

The first is from Exodus 34, but also found in Exodus 20:5Numbers 14:18, and Deuteronomy 5:9-10. This has been the root for "generational curses" that many believe take place, and also often credited to God for making happen. But the context of the afflicted verse 7 does not align with the character and nature of what the Lord says in verses 5 & 6. So, what is amiss and why the confused nature of God here?

Well, what was interpreted as a curse in verse 7 actually was a continuation of God's Mercy from 5 & 6 in that He is there even for the generations of children born to a father who has done wrong. This is God's Grace on our faults and the faulty nurturing handed down through parenting to the children. He is saying I will take care of the fathers and the children to watch over them and make sure they are free. Thus, there were no generational curses to begin with. And what iniquities were handed down, God was always there in Grace and Mercy to help.

In the verses below, the italicized words are words not in the original Hebrew. The words that are striked-through were words added to the Hebrew for clarification, but not necessarily per the original meaning of the words. For reference, the translated words are paired with the Concordance number and then given the original definitions of the Hebrew word as underlined.

Exodus 34:5-7

And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord , The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no [means H5352 = making clear, pure, and innocent] [clear H5352 = being free from guilt, free from punishment, and free from obligationthe guilty; [visiting H6485= watching over and caring for] the iniquity of the fathers upon, the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

Thus, what these passages say (in the Agape Love of God) is as follows:

Exodus 34:5-7

And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord , The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin; making them clear, pure, and innocentbeing free from guilt, free from punishment, and free from obligationall-the-while watching over and caring for the iniquity of the fathers, the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

How much have we suffered because of a misinterpretation thinking we were cursed, or that God was going to punish us or our children and their generations to come. We have been tricked into accepting hand-me-down consequences, diseases, “born-this-way” attitudes, or personality types. It was God that was telling us how much He forgives and how much He cares.

He Doesn't Cut Us Off!

This same caring attitude is what He demonstrates when Jesus shares that the Father is a Husbandman (care-taker for a vineyard). But we don’t initially see this in the way these verses are translated:

John 15:1-7

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that bears not fruit he [taketh away G142 = raise up, elevate, lift up]: and every branch that bears fruit, he [purges G2508 = cleanses from filth impurity and from guilt] it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

Thus, what these passages say (in the Agape Love of God) is as follows:

John 15:1-7

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that bears not fruit he raises up, elevates, and lifts up. And every branch that bears fruit, he cleanses it from filth impurity and from guilt, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

The last part of that verse about “not abiding in me” is talking about non-believers. But for those who do believe and abide in Him, the Lord makes sure we are picked up out of the mud into His Light and cleansed from filth and guilt. The verse even explains how the cleaning occurs: through the Word of Christ! He cleanses us, not destroys us. Just as someone attending to a vineyard now, they don’t cut up and decimate their vines but nurture them up in health for them to prosper.

When we think He takes away and purges us from His vine, all it does is create fear of the Lord. And if He did do that, what would cause Him to? We would be perpetually guessing as what we could or could not do. This then inevitably leads us at dead works efforts at righteousness. Yet Christ made us all His Righteousness with all sins of the flesh forgiven us. Since we have already been made clean from guilt, God cannot discard us or cut us off.

Thus, when we know we can’t be cut off and discarded based on anything we do or don’t do (having the Righteousness of Christ), we can relax in Agape Love and comfort that whatever we face in this life He will help keep us clean and keep elevating us into the Light of Christ! God is Love and does not give us a spirit of fear!

He Does Not Kill Us (Ananias and Sapphira)

If we believe God is out there with a quick temper ready to cut us off in life and destroy us when we make a mistake, we can apply that fear & anger filter onto other scriptures. One such is when we read the story of Ananias and Sapphira and their lies.

Acts 5:1-10

But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and gave up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.

When reading the story, it can be assumed that their death (as a result of lying to the Holy Spirit) was caused by the Holy Spirit. This is a misunderstanding; the scripture does not say the Holy Spirit struck them down or took their life, it says that both Ananias and Sapphira “gave up the ghost”.

What struck me first about the phrase “gave up the ghost” with Ananias and Sapphira was that this was a phrase I had seen before in other scripture—with Jesus. As Jesus said, no one takes His life, but He lays it down. And when Christ actually died on the cross, He gave up His Ghost (no one actually killed Him).

John 10:14-18

I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

John 19:30

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Though the Greek words for “gave up” in both contexts here are different, they both refer to a giving / yielding. It is a willingness of giving. However, Christ’s was for a purpose; but for Ananias and Sapphira, they condemned themselves to death. Their fear of the Lord became real to them. 

No Need to Fear God - We Are At Peace With Him

This fear is something that Paul experienced when Christ interrupted his trip on the road to Damascus. He fell trembling in fear. As the ‘Pharisee of Pharisees”, Paul was well aware of God and what consequences there were to those who had disobeyed Him in Israel’s past under the Law (which we are not under). So, I can imagine that when Paul encountered the Lord and Him saying to him that, “you are persecuting Me”, there was a great expectation on Paul’s heart that He was about to die. Hence why he was both trembling in fear and astonished (the same astonishment the disciples had at what Jesus said or did—Mark 10:32). Paul trembled in fear, but was astonished at His Mercy. Now, where Paul was not purposely doing what he did (actually thinking that what he was doing, he was doing for God), Ananias and Sapphira willfully knew they were lying. This is where their hearts condemned them, and they failed to experience the Mercy of the Lord at that moment. Their fear caused their own death.

This type of fear is what we should not have in our relationship with the Lord. If we think God (or the Holy Ghost) can just kill us when we do anything wrong, we don’t come close to Him is relationship. It would be like one kidnapped, tied up, and a gun to your head being questioned; not knowing if the next thing you said or didn’t do would lead to your death. Where is the Love in that, where is the trust, where is the confidence? We can’t have any of those if we fear. Fear is not from God!

2 Timothy 1:7

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

God is Agape Love and He wants us to Agape Love Him back. We must know we have peace with God; and He says we do have peace with Him:

Romans 5:1

Therefore, being justified by Christ’s faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 2:13-14

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

This peace they proclaim is towards earth from Heaven—God’s peace towards us in that we should have no fear. And when we understand our Righteousness because of Christ, we can let go of any fear. Our hearts then can be made clear (a clean conscience) in that we can know that nothing we can do or not do can change our right-standing with God: having a righteous-conscience, not a sin-conscience.

When He spoke to Moses for Aaron to quote God’s Blessing over the lives of Israel, God was telling them not to fear:

Number 6:24-26

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lifts up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

The Lord’s countenance is the presence of His face—what we see as His facial expression to us. That the way He sees us and looks at us is one of peace; and when we do see it, it does give us peace. He does not ever want us to live in fear (dread) of Him. And when we let go of this dread (fear), we can accept, and therefore, experience what His Agape Love is! Since God is Agape Love (1 John 4:8), we can see Him as the definitions to Agape Love:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Agape Love (God our Father) suffers long and is kind; Agape Love (God our Father) does not envy; Agape Love (God our Father) does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Agape Love (God our Father) never fails.

When we know all that about God our Father, why would we fear Him? We can look at Him in confidence and have peace in our being.

He Does Not Destroy Us Because of Sin (Defilement)

But if we think He is out to get us, punish us, or cast us away, then we misinterpret scripture and His True Nature. Just as we looked at earlier with John 15:1-7 (above) where just simple words can change our view of Him, we see this also in just one word in this verse: “him”:

1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defiles the temple of God, [him G1526 = this] shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which ye are holy.

The word ‘him’ being used here is the Greek word ‘touton’. And although this word is translated many times as the word him, it only has one original meaning: this. As such, when we look at that verse again, it should read “this God shall destroy”. But what is the “this”? It is the defilement. God doesn’t destroy us as the temple, He destroys the defilement we can bring to ourselves as the temple. Jesus demonstrated this exact thing when He visited the Temple at the beginning and end of His ministry.

John 2:13-17

And the Jews’ Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: and when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; and said unto them that sold doves, take these things hence; make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.

Matthew 21:12-13

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

When He came to the Temple and saw that it was defiled, He didn’t destroy the Temple, He removed (destroyed) the defilement! We must remember, God is there to keep us clean as was seen in John 15:1-7 (above). He has no reason to destroy us, but He does have a wonderful purpose in wanting to keep us clean from defilement. The context of 1 Corinthians 3:10-17 is the removing of burnable debris in our lives that are opposed to the Foundation of Christ Jesus.

1 Corinthians 3:9-17

For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds thereon. But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abides which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defiles the temple of God, this defilement shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

Our Father wants us to be the best we can be, without hindrance or burden. He breaks strongholds and keeps setting us free from our own iniquities. This then circles back around to what we see as God’s nature in Exodus 34:5-7; Him protecting us from iniquity and being with us through the removal of those iniquities.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

For though we carry on in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh: for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God to the advantage of the demolishing of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and leading away into captivity every thought to the submission of Christ.

This is what I have come to witness in my own life. Has the removing of iniquity always been clear to me when it happens; or not without soulish pain? No! But having come through much change and renewing of the mind, I have seen and experienced my freedoms from being bondage (strongholds). And since I have experienced those freedoms, I have learned to trust Him when I face the next and the next. Every time being freer and less weighted down by my past burdens. Praise the Lord!


The Faith of Christ

Christ came to set us free (Galatians 5:1); and He came that we could take His yolk which is easy (Matthew 11:30). And the way He did that was do it all for us. This is and was the Faith of Christ—His work, our reward. And when we accept that He did all the work for us, we become free from trying to do the work of righteousness ourselves. That’s a light and easy yolk to put on! However, some interpretations of scripture say that it is “Faith in Christ” and not “the Faith of Christ”. We are Justified by the Faith of Jesus Christ, not by ours.

God’s righteousness was poured out and is upon all people of this world, believers & non-believers. And because of this, righteousness was not our own doing has to have been accomplished through the faith OF Christ Jesus! If it was only by faith in Jesus, righteousness would apply only to believers of Jesus Christ (as one’s putting their faith in Him). As such, that righteousness has nothing to do with our faith, but the accomplishment of His Faith.

Romans 3:22

Even the righteousness of God which is by the faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.

Romans 5:17

For if by one man’s (Adam’s) offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.

Habakkuk 2:4-5

Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by faith. … He gathers unto Himself all nations, and assembles unto Himself all people.

Ephesians 2:8-10

For by God’s Grace are ye saved, through Christ’s Faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

As said above, it is not through faith of ourselves (our faith IN Christ). No! We are saved by Christ's Faith (the gift - something free of charge or repayment of any kind) He had in & through the completed work of the Cross that made us all righteous. But we need to believe (have faith in His Faith) for us to receive the gift given & the benefits thereof in their fullness (completeness).

Romans 1:17

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith.

Faith is not something we produce but is God’s Gift in us through the Holy Spirit—not something we produce for Him, but He produces for us. Faith is a Gift of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). And The Measure of Faith has been given us all (Romans 12:3). Thus, Faith is not about righteousness, nor about a means to believe. We must believe, not to be made righteous, but accept that righteousness. But it's not righteousness we are after (since we have it), but salvation.

Romans 1:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

And we can believe in Him to salvation because we can come to God without worry of not being "good enough" to receive the salvation that comes from us believing in Him. All of our sin (besides the sin of not believing in Him) has been taken care of.


Renewing Our Mind

So, since it is all taken care of and no sin can or is held against us; we can access God through Jesus Christ without worry, fear, shame, guilt, remorse, or believing that our sins are held against us & that God is angry with us.

Romans 5:1

Therefore, being justified by Christ’s Faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

How amazing is that! To know God our Father is not mad at us because of what Jesus accomplished. This purpose of God our Father to demonstrate that He is not mad at us was demonstrated to us through Christ and His complete sacrifice. God has never been an enemy to us, but only Agape Love to us.

We make ourselves enemies to Him—however, not in Truth and Reality, it is something we imagine in our minds:

Colossians 1:21

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.

If it’ in our minds only, then it has to do with our own perceived status with Him. This goes back to having either a sin-conscience or a righteous-conscience. With the former, we will always see ourselves as enemies to God. The latter, we will always see ourselves as Friends of God (moreso Sons and Daughters of God).

How we go from a sin-conscience to a righteous-conscience is firstly through the accepting of Christ’s Completed Work to then renewing our minds and our heart-condition:

Romans 12:2

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Ephesians 4:22-24

that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

When we renew our mind to who God says we are (righteous), then we can accept that Truth in our heart. And from our heart, comes our self-will (Proverbs 4:23). When we align our heart as a doorway through which the Holy Spirit flows, then we do His Will as our own. And thus, experience His Agape Love in us and through us!

And this is what all this is about, Him in us and through us. And this only can happen when we no longer see God as an enemy, but as a Father—one that Truly always Agape Loves us and shows us that because of Christ, we are in right-standing with Him (righteous)! When we come across scripture that seems to contradict this, that’s when we can scrutinize the translation and filter out an angry God and see a clear Loving God. And what that Agape Love looks like was demonstrated completely by Jesus. And this, once again, is God:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

God suffers long and is kind; God does not envy; God does not parade Himself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek His own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. God never fails.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Moving Forward to a Position of Perfection - Hebrews 6

Hebrews 5:12-14 & 6:1-2
For though by this time you ought to be teachers (discerning the things of God), you need someone to teach (instill doctrine into) you again the first (origins) principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food (nourishment). For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of habit have their understanding exercised to the advantage of discerning not only good, but evil.

Therefore, moving away from the beginning origins of the words and teachings of Christ, let us endure and move forward to a position of perfection; not throwing to the ground (discarding what we have learned) to repeat the principles of truth that are: repentance from dead works and a position of faith with God; of the teachings of baptisms; and of laying on of hands; and of resurrection of the dead; and of eternal judgment.

For most of my life, I never got past the principle teachings of Christ because I never understood it. My ‘Christian’ life was always in shambles, never truly knowing what Christianity was—an intimate relationship with the Father, not a religion. But I was so caught up in religion, I never had a relationship. Yes, I knew of God…but never trusted Him or came close to Him to even really experience Him as a true Loving Father. And yes, I was aware of the Holy Spirit in my life…hearing Him and seeing Him be an influence in my life, but not letting Him fully into my life, into my spirit. And yes, I knew about Jesus and Him dying for me and forgiving me, but I never understood fully what that meant. Everything about my religious Christian life was chaos. I was never at peace, rest, or experiencing the Abundant Life He died and gave to me.

So when did this change? When I finally came to the end of my own ability to live the so-called ‘Christian way of life’. One that, up until this point, I felt I had to achieve through my own ability. And from that ability came fear, control, lack, strife, self-condemnation, failure at perfection, and a religious façade that hid my true “disappointed” nature.

The fruit of my religious life created the ultimate failure to me. And on the floor in my loft, I wept and ached from my heart to the Lord. And when I was ready to just let Him kill me for my wrongs, He poured out something I never experienced before: His Agape Love of Mercy. And what I did not know then, I have come to see as a changing point in my relationship with Him. Because that moment where I experienced what I did not expect, gave me question to what I thought I knew. This I feel happened to Paul on a greater level.

Acts 9:3-6
As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads (why are you resisting Me).” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

As the ‘Pharisee of Pharisees”, Paul was well aware of God and what consequences there were to those who had disobeyed Him in Israel’s past. So, I can imagine that when Paul encountered the Lord and Him saying to him that, “you are persecuting Me”, there was a great expectation on Paul’s heart that He was about to die. Hence why he was both trembling in fear and astonished (the same astonishment the disciples had at what Jesus said or did—Mark 10:32). Paul trembled in fear, but was astonished at His Mercy. It took someone like Paul to now start to completely change from the self-righteousness he thought he had in the Law, to establishing for himself a new understanding of the Lord.
And so did I.

I had to establish in my heart all that Christ Jesus did; and did not only do for me, but for all of humanity. I had to take all Jesus said, understand what it meant, and then use that as my starting point to building a new Foundation—that being the Rock of Jesus, not the sand of my own ‘intelligence’. I had to let go of alot, and accept (receive) much more.

Repentance from Dead Works

All my life, growing up in a Christian religion, I was taught, nurtured, and disciplined into a life focused on protecting self. Not all was intentional, as having an abusive dad created a nature of protection, perfection, and isolation. Not knowing the reasons why my dad would get mad (because of youthful ignorance), the form of self-protection that developed was one that tried to control the situation that really wasn’t controllable. Since I could not change the situation, I tried to control anything I did to avoid his punishment. Thus, I learned not to speak up (closing off), disregarding emotions (shutting off), and did all I could to not trigger anything (perfectionism). Add on top of this was a church that mimicked this type of behaviour. Thus, I began to see God just as my dad on earth—loving, yet angry: confused.

Now my “works” that were towards my dad became “works” towards God. I struggled to not sin in any fashion—thus perfectionism. I also kept my distance from God emotionally—I could not trust Him, just like I could not trust my dad. And eventually I just didn’t want to speak to Him—and why would God speak to me. In my own eyes I was just a failure at living a so-called “Christian life”; so much so, that all I began to expect from Him was anger. But I still tried to keep up my “good works” in an attempt to not only please Him, but make Him proud of me for trying so diligently. If my attempts failed, I made sure to punish myself before He did. I did all I could to live a “righteous” life, not realizing Christ lived and died that life FOR me—for all of us.

And when I understood the Truth that the life I live (that anyone lives—believer or not) has been made Righteous through Christ, it began to set me free from self-works of righteousness. No longer did I need to try and achieve something that Christ already achieved from me.

Romans 3:20-24
Therefore, by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.  But at this very moment, the righteousness of God without the law is made actual and plainly recognized, affirmed by the law and the prophets; moreover, the righteousness of God by the faith of Jesus Christ is unto all and upon all them that believe (for there is no distinction between believers and non-believers; for everyone has sinned and come short of the glory of God); having been justified (declared righteous) freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

What I was trying to do out of my own ability (my fleshly ability) to uphold the Law, I never needed to do. All that living by the Law did for me was give me a knowledge of what sin was and strengthen sin (1 Corinthians 15:56) in my life where I could no longer resist it out of fear. Fear never keeps a person from doing something, only Agape Love can. I lived a life of fear, not of Love. Yet, unknowingly, this was my attempt at self-righteousness: dead works.

Anything I do that is an attempt (consciously or sub-consciously) at self-righteousness is dead works. This has many forms, but these are the ones I’ve come to recognize: trying to do something to avoid Gods wrath (which He does not do); trying to do something to get God to do something for me…whether prayer, food / material fasting, self-punishment, prayer, ungodly humility, bartering, or begging Him; trying to “get more faith”; or a reward-type works, thinking that I deserved something from Him because I did good (I didn’t do something this week that was a ‘sin’, so now God can do for me).

All of this is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). All of this needs to be counted as dung as Paul says of his own attempts (Philippians 3:8-9). And I bet Paul was much better at living the Law than I was.

But I was deceived in my actions thinking that I was doing right with God. But boy, was I wrong. The only thing that saved me was hearing the Truth. And how I heard the Truth was to experience that Truth through others—via sermons, personal encounters, and eventually through a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit (being Baptized in the Holy Spirit).

I had to, and still have to, repent (change my thinking and actions) from my dead works; all because Christ already had achieved everything to me and for me. The Law was bondage, but Christ was freedom. He set me free from the burden and trap of having to try for my own righteousness by the Law.

Galatians 5:1,4
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage [the Law]. Whosoever of you are trying to justify yourself by the law; you are separating yourself from Christ, and grace is of no effect to you.
Romans 7:6
But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
I don’t always catch it right away when I perform dead works, but the Holy Spirit is helping as I do have to test the spirits—whether what I am hearing to do is something of Him, or a deception of an old mindset of mine of doing things. But in my heart, I know I have been set free from a performance-based Christian religion. I have been set free from sin and the strength of sin. I have been set free from a sin-consciousness that is from the knowledge of the Law.

How I live now is through the fruits of the Spirit in me—not my ability (fruit), but His. Only He can live in Agape Love through me. This is my foundation, my goal, and my being. And the more I realize this and hold it true in the everyday details of my life, the more I can just be Him (who I really am)! This is living a life of Faith; but not my faith, His Faith.

His Faith – The Faith of Christ

This is the second aspect of what Hebrews 6:1 shares. I had to come to a point where I no longer addressed my self-righteousness, but Christ’s in me by His achievement of Faith.

Galatians 2:16,20-21
knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. I have been crucified with Christ; therefore, it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.

Ephesians 2:7-9
that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by God's grace you have been saved through Christ's faith, indeed this was not done out of your own ability, it is the gift of God (not of works, lest any man should boast).

Philippians 3:8-9
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by Christ’s faith.

It is Christ’s Faith that made all this happen for me and for you. His Righteousness upon us because He had and walked in complete Faith. And this Faith He perfected:

Hebrews 12:2a
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

He perfected Faith in that Christ never did anything of His own will or accord; He only did as He saw His Father do—all the way through giving His Life for us! Before the cross, we witnessed varying degrees of faith that people had. Faith was something that individuals had to generate; but post-cross, we have all been Gifted His One-And-Only measure of Faith.

Romans 12:3
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

If we have been given His measure of Faith, what do we do with it, and how does it transpire in our lives?

One thing I had come to believe was that I needed to have faith to get God to move. But we are not told to have more faith, we are only told to believe. Our only requirement is to believe:

Mark 16:15-18
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My Name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Acts 8:34-37
So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

What comes out of that belief is His Faith, as Faith is a Fruit of the Spirit. And the Fruits of the Spirit are for our benefit, demonstrating (proving) what is acceptable to the Lord:

Galatians 5:22-24
But the fruit of the Spirit is Agape Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Temperance: against such there is no law. And if you are Christ's, your flesh has already (once and for all time) been crucified with its affections and lusts.

Ephesians 5:9-10
For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth, proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

All those Fruits are something that we cannot produce on our own. We can mimic them to an extent, but we can never truly achieve that God-Type of Fruit. Agape Love (which is God’s Love) is only something He can produce; yet we are only capable of producing Eros love (sexual attraction), Phileo love (to like / fondness / friendship) and Storge love (affection between parents & children). If God requires us to Agape Love the Father and others, yet we don’t have our own ability to do so on our own, then He has to provide it for us. His Agape Love in us and through us, back to Him and to others. He likewise gives us all His Fruit of the Spirit which includes Faith. This is what I have come to truly sink my teeth into—that for God so Agape Loved us that He gave His ALL to us and for us, for our free and unlimited use. We have been Gifted everything for free!

Ephesians 1:3
Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.

There is nothing we can ask for or beg for that we have not already been given or provided:

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.

Philippians 4:19
God has liberally provided for all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Faith is not something we produce for God, it is something God produces for us as a Fruit of the Spirit. Faith is not needed for God to move, because when we move (just believe) towards His called direction, He produces the Faith needed for the task. We only need to believe…He provides the rest. What we do as a result of believing the Lord is Faith. Living a life of Faith is our reaction / outcome to believing what He says is in line with what He says. This is Life of Faith is not as a “to get”; but it is firstly as an existence (a position) because of Christ’s Faith, then as one who has His Faith. When we believe and we act, we automatically walk in His Faith.

Hebrews 10:38a, 11:1,6
Now the righteous live by faith. Moreover, faith is the [actual existence, steadfastness of mind, firmness, courage, resolve, confidence, firm trust, & assurance] of things hoped for [trusted in], the [proof & conviction] of things not seen. But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that seek him.

As we maintain a belief in what His Truth is, we may not have directly in our hands the things we hope for; but that hope is not void or lost because He does bring things to fruition as we stand firm in His Faith. And since we do have Faith, we please Him. For we come to God, our Loving Father, believing that He is God, and also stand believing that He does reward us as we seek Him as One who is a Loving Father (who gives us wisdom & help in all times).

We have His Faith to be able to live the life the Lord prepared for us (a Kingdom Life). We are only required to believe when coming to the Lord; from that point of belief we begin to cultivate the Fruit of Faith in our life for what we are believing for. Seed, time, and harvest.

Galatians 6:8-9
he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

If we do not see an immediate manifestation, that does not mean we quit (we faint) ...we hold fast to that belief in Him. Regardless of the time, it is His Faith that manifests (we reap) through relationship with Him! Once seeded, we water by His Word so that we can reap that harvest when the time comes--regardless of how long that time is, whether instant in a miracle, or over the course of time by renewing our mind and putting aside our already-dead-flesh (Galatians 5:24). And this already-dead-nature we represent through water baptism.

Baptism – A Clear Conscience

In Hebrews 6:1, it reads “the teachings of baptisms”. The Greek definition to this word ‘baptisms’ refers to the ceremonial washings and cleansing the Jews would often do; but also, it is rooted in the Greek word referring to immersion and repeated dipping in water.
Often, the Pharisees questioned Jesus regarding rituals, including the one of washings:

Matthew 15:1-2,11-12
Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread. He said to them, “Hear and understand: It is not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”

These ceremonial washings and cleansings were performed by the priests:

Hebrews 9:6-10
Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance; the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience—concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings (baptisms), and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation.

This washing (with the other rituals) was a means to clean the conscience of the priest before entering the Temple. However, it was not a perfect system, because this ritualistic cleansing had to be performed over and over again. But there is no need for that now as we can have a clean conscience once-and-for-all-time because of what Christ accomplished!

Hebrews 9:11-15
But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason, He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Hebrews 10:1-2
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

Hebrews 10:19-23
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having a high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

Because Christ removed all our sins of the flesh, we no longer have a need to perform out of our own ability or rituals to create our own self-righteousness (which are dead works). It is through Christ that we (the whole world) have been reconciled to God the Father; thus, there is no need to have any form of fear coming to the Father. We can be bold in our approach to God the Father, not having to think of ourselves less or that we are unclean in any fashion. And as a believer, we can let go of the fear that we are not perfect in the eyes of God, because God sees us through Christ Jesus—clean and without blemish. This is having a clear conscience!

And our act of water baptism is a representation that our self-works are no longer required, that our flesh is dead, having died through Christ; and that our consciousness of sin is also dead having died with the flesh at the Cross.

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

1 Peter 3:18-21
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Paul made that determination of himself to having a clean conscience, and made it known that we must as well.

Acts 24:16
And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

1 Timothy 1:5
Now the end of the commandment is Agape Love out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.

2 Timothy 1:3
I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day.

Without a clear conscience, we are still trying to perform to get approval from God or performing as a means to get God to move in our lives. When we get caught up in that, we neglect or deny what Christ already did for us. We are then never at rest—Christ came to give us that rest! But when we renew our heart and mind to accept that we no longer need to try for righteousness, we allow the Lord to move in our lives based on what Christ did (His Faith).

The more we have a knowledge of the Law (not being God’s Agape Love), the more we tend to dwell in a sin conscience (as did the Pharisees). They lived with a conscience seared (marked / branded) not by righteousness, but in a sin conscience—seared being that of a “perpetual consciousness of sin” (1 Timothy 4:2).

The power of sin is the Law (1 Corinthians 15:56). The more we know the Law, the more we are caught in the trap of desiring to sin more. This is the life I was caught up in.
As I have mentioned before, I grew up in a very legalistic religion—one that I learned not God’s Agape Love, but His Laws and requirements to do right (a Christian religion based on morality). These were things that kept me from a close relationship with Him and one that never allowed me to come boldly into His Throne Room. I was always conscience of my sins and everyone else’s. There was no Agape Love in and through me. I was miserable inside, dying every day when all the Father wanted for me is Life, not death. But how could I ever receive that from Him when I never felt worthy to receive it.

The Lord tried to get my attention regarding my spiritual dying through dreams. I would often have very real-feeling dreams where I woke up with anxiety, frustration, worry, and a sense of defeat. These dreams were typically of me driving a car, discovering that the brakes did not work. I would either be coming to a traffic intersection where I would have to stop, but the car would keep rolling forward towards the car in front. I would panic and not know what to do as I pressed the brake and nothing would happen. It would then intensify where I would then have to take corrective action to try and avoid a collision, but the car I was driving would not stop; instead it would now increase in speed. Eventually, the worst of it would be that to avoid a collision, I put the car in reverse. Now this was the most extreme anxiety and defeat, because now I was driving backwards, fast (continually increasing in speed), and with no breaks—I was out of control and I could feel it in my soul. The car would never stop, instead I would just wake up—heart racing, mind troubled, soul disturbed. And these dreams would repeat and repeat over many years many times a year. I was spiritually dying and didn’t know it—I was on a course to disaster. But the Lord needed me to change. And once that change occurred, those dreams did not return!

I had to let go of my own self-worth tarnished by my own sin conscience. This was a process that took on many aspects that I can’t even fully understand. But what happened in that change was Him showing me what His Completed Work looked like; and thus, setting my foundation right: that my flesh was already dead (having already died with Christ), that I was made alive by Him, that we can live in and with a clear conscience knowing all our sins are removed, knowing that we do not have to try to attain right-standing with God on our own merits. This clear conscience ties back into repentance from dead works and His Faith—all interwoven together, none without the other. This is why it is foundational in our relationship with the Lord.

Think of a well-built concrete foundation set on bedrock. Concrete is a substance made up of more than one element: steel reinforcing, aggregate, cement, and water. It is these things that combine to make it the strength it needs to be to uphold all that is built on top of it. Each of those elements separately cannot provide for a stable or viable foundation. But together they do—just as together repentance from dead works, Christ’s Faith, and a clear conscience towards God creates the strong and stable foundation needed to build His Kingdom in one’s own life! A foundation built on Him as the bedrock. And this foundation is kept clean and free from defect through His Word. He continually washes us.

Titus 3:4-6
But when the kindness and the love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Ephesians 5:25-27
Christ Agape Loves the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

He made us clean and keeps us clean (John 15:3). We move from Glory to Glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). And we ARE a Holy Temple (1 Corinthians 3:16), and nothing can change that!

When we understand this, we can live free from guilt and free from a sense of obligation to the Lord. Free to just live in Agape Love; for the more we are living in Agape Love, the more we are caught up in His presence and His Finished Work and Rest. And the less we end up sinning in our actions. It is this Finished Work and Rest that we are announcing through Water Baptism.

And this Completed Work and Rest includes healing, health, and all Spiritual Gifts. This is seen in the power of laying on of hands.

The Laying on of Hands

When we lay our hands on someone as Hebrews 6:1 shares, we express Christ on earth as His Body. The depth of meaning and revelation behind this is broad—encompassing much; the roots of which stem from Christ’s Completed Work.

Jesus, before He departed this earth, gave instructions for us to lay our hands on people with the promise of a result:

Mark 16:15-18
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My Name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

What a wonderful promise: they will recover!

I have found that a gentle touch of the hand can bring calm. It can bring a person who is suffering a sense that they are not alone, bringing comfort, and opens up a trust an acceptance for the Holy Spirit to move in their life. This, combined with a prayer or an authority of speaking to their personal mountain, their sickness, disease, soul issue, will be removed and they will recover (made well).

Matthew 21:21-22
So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

We are to speak to the mountains—being anything that is not aligned with the Kingdom of God. It could be a personal mountain (such as physical or emotional health issues, persecution, finances, home environment, relationships); or the like in other people; or problems in an area, community, country, or government / authority (famine, plagues, corruption, violence); or even the weather and natural disasters (drought, flooding, storms, hurricanes, volcanoes).

The Lord told Adam in the Garden of Eden to have rule over (subjugate) the world.

Genesis 1:26-28
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.

However, Adam gave this authority over to the Devil. But, Christ claimed it back for us!!!
Jesus demonstrated what it means to have dominion. And what He showed us is not a rule that was through the violence and destruction that we often see committed in this world; He showed rule through Life. He spoke Life to people, multiplied food, and gave peace to storms.

We do see that He did curse a fig tree; but we need to understand that the fig tree was not producing the expected fruit that was of God’s creation. He ‘destroyed’ with a righteous indignation, that which is not of God’s Kingdom—just as He ruined and demolished the devil, sickness, disease, sin, and destructive storms. He showed this righteous indignation during separate visits to the Temple where He chased out the venders and animals with a whip (John 2:13-16 and Matthew 21:12-13).

This is the same righteous indignation attitude we need to have when we are confronted with anything that opposes the Kingdom of God! We need to use the authority Christ returned to us to have dominion over all which is not of God! When we see these things, we must speak to it to stop in the authority that is Jesus Christ in us.

If disease, “we break it in the Name of Jesus, and speak Life into the person.” When a storm comes, “be gone in the Name of Jesus.” When we need rain, “rain come in the Name of Jesus”. We drive out that which does not belong, and command in that which does: with that authority! Let us NEVER accept sickness, disease, birth defects, or cater to the excuse that things exist and cannot change because “they / I was just born this way”. Christ’s power and authority to us and through us is greater than all things!

When we lay our hands on the sick, remember that it’s not my own authority based on my own righteousness or faith; I am using the gift of Righteousness and Faith that is by and from Christ Jesus given to me. This is how we eliminate doubt and can witness the truth that, “they will recover”. And this is something I witnessed in my own life…that when I let go of it being a righteousness and faith out of my own self-worth & self-works, I saw miracles happen and people get healed! This too with a change in attitude and response to whom I was ministering to—that instead of praying to God for them, I prayed in response to His authority through me by literally speaking to the situation. I became His Body (Jesus Christ Himself) on earth. This is His Will and command for us, not only when we pray, but when we lay our hands on the sick.

With the performing of laying on of hands comes a belief; a belief that Christ bore all our sicknesses and diseases:

1 Peter 2:24
who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

And this not only applies to who we are laying our hands on, but ourself. This laying on of hands went against the customs and Laws the Pharisees held onto. In those days, it was not permitted to touch those who were deemed unclean. And moreso, touching someone with a disease meant that you yourself could contract their disease. They faced people with varying skin diseases and leprosy that had no cure. Likewise, we also have contagious disease (some even without a medical cure): TB, HIV/AIDS, Ebola, and other plagues. Yet we are told to touch them. Why would He command us to do that which could then also kill us? Because there is no Authority or Name above the Name of Jesus. It truly is that “by His stripes we WERE healed.” This belief in the in the laying on of hands is both a sign to the healer and the one being healed.

But the laying-on of hands is not just limited to healing, but also includes the giving of the gift of the Holy Spirit:

Acts 19:1-7
And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Now the men were about twelve in all.

This is something I have personally experienced as well. When Jesus baptised me in the Holy Ghost, it was such a personal and effectual event—it was me submitting myself to Him during my asking Him for that Baptism and the Gift of Tongues. During the months directly after that, I ministered my experiences with a dear friend. Through that time, she began to open up about what she saw and experienced from me. Like so many, she did not understand what was happening regarding the Holy Ghost and Tongues, and even had people speak out against this being something that occurs in the now, having died away during the Bible era of the Apostles. But God’s Word is alive and continues to remain alive (that promise could not have died out because His Word is Life). And through that promise, and through the opening up of my friends’ heart to not only trust me, but Trust the Lord, this Gift of the Holy Ghost was given to her when I had laid my hands on her. And right then, in the Spirit, we saw Jesus with us performing the same Baptising in the Holy Ghost as I had experienced. Followed that same day with her speaking in tongues as He Gifts. This is a testimony of how the Lord still works.

Each of us becomes the Body of Christ (Him as a person on this earth) when we minister His Agape Love. Just as Jesus healed through the laying on of hands, so do we. And just as we saw the Gift of the Holy Spirit given in the same manner, so do we. The laying on of hands is a powerful weapon of authority! It brings confirmation that Christ completed the Work He set out to do. He brings Life to those in need: the Life of healing, the Life that is the Holy Ghost, and also the Life that returns people from death. We not only see healing (which He accomplished), His Gift of the Holy Ghost (which He promised), but also of people being raised from the dead (which He overcame).

Matthew 9:18-19, 23-26
While He spoke these things to them, behold, a ruler came and worshiped Him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.” So Jesus arose and followed him, and so did His disciples. When Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd wailing, He said to them, “Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping.” And they ridiculed Him. But when the crowd was put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. And the report of this went out into all that land.

Acts 20:7-12
Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together. And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, “Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him.” Now when he had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed. And they brought the young man in alive, and they were not a little comforted.

It was not only Jesus that brought Life to the dead, but the disciples too. He conquered death and proved it through not only bringing others back from the dead, but He Himself was raised from the dead. These types of miracles performed by Jesus and His disciples and Paul are not just for them, we are told that we too (all who believe) will perform the same miracles as Jesus did and more!

John 14:12-14
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

Christ is the completed work. He proved this in His ministry. He went to the Father, and in the process conquered death, Hell, and the grave. He is the Resurrection and the Life! (John 11:25)

The Resurrection of the Dead

This is the second-to-last part of Hebrews 6:2.

Paul speaks clearly and in detail on the Resurrection of the dead in all of 1 Corinthians 15. But instead of copying the whole chapter to read, I will hit on some of the key aspects of what the Resurrection entails:

1 Corinthians 15:3-8
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

If there were any doubt about whether Christ had been raised from the dead, Paul lets us know that He was seen by over 500 people at one time. So this is not just a testimony of a few, but of many. Jesus Christ predicted that His death, burial, and resurrection would take place. And this came true! But the biggest testimony to His resurrection and ascension to Heaven is the Holy Spirit in our lives (all of humanity):

John 16:5-7
But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.

Jesus could not have sent the Holy Ghost if He hadn’t ascended to Heaven to be with the Father. And He could not have ascended unless He had been raised from death, having died through Him giving up His Own Life (not killed):

John 10:15,17-18
As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. Therefore, My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.

And we see He had the power to raise Himself up as well! And His resurrection is key to Faith and our Life (not only now in this life, but eternally)! Without Him dying to cleanse everyone’s sins of the flesh, and resurrecting to make us Holy through belief in Him (removing the Sin of not believing), then we would be eternally without hope dying in Adam, not living in Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:12-23
Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

But Christ WAS raised from the dead and so do we have this hope and promise when He returns! Our dying is not the end-all-be-all of life and existence. It is moreso like a sleep (as Paul refers and as Jesus referred to when speaking about Lazarus) where we will wake up again. What we have to comprehend is that when our body physically dies (a result of our spirit leaving our body), we still exist. Our body is not who we are, our spirit is who we are. And our spirit is timeless in that it will exist for eternity. We are now living in eternity; this is not something to come, but a NOW. Our body is but a temporary vessel to the spirit us. Though our body does play a role in our eternity now, it is only for a brief moment in the context of eternity.

When Life and Death are discussed, it is a reference to our spirit condition as part of eternity. In this life in a body, we are given a choice to choose Life or Death through a decision of our spirit, through our heart. We believe in our heart to Salvation (Romans 10:9-10). At that moment of believing, we go from being born of Adam in the flesh unto Death, to being Born Again of Christ unto Life through the spirit!

1 Corinthians 15:42-49
So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

When we do not believe in Christ Jesus, we are denying all He did and remain in that state of Death which is perpetual and eternal separation from God the Father. When we do accept Christ and are Born Again, we move from Death to Life, which is perpetual and eternal existence with God the Father.

John 5:24
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Ephesians 2:1-10
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by God's grace you have been saved through the Faith of Jesus; and that not of yourselves; they are the gift of God (not of self-works, lest anyone should boast). For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

He desires so greatly that we have that intimate fellowship with Him. He values us more than we could ever value ourselves—so much so that God the Father sent His own cherished Son (Jesus Christ) whom obediently honoured His and our Father through the point of sacrificing Himself for us to make us all righteous and the ability for all who do believe to be made Holy! Oh, how much He has made it possible for all to believe and come to Him. Yet, sadly, not all do. But when we do believe, He and all of Heaven rejoices!

Yet, regardless of if we believe or not, we exist forever. For those that are Born-Again, we look forward to a new body, changed when Christ returns. Those that are dead (asleep) shall be raised up, and those that are alive shall be changed in an instance:

1 Corinthians 15:50-54
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed--in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

What a comfort to know that we will forever be in the presence of God our Father because of all the Christ did! Never, even now, ever having to worry about what sins and mistakes we have done on this earth—for we can have a confident boldness when in the presence of God:

Hebrews 10:16-19
This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds, will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.

1 John 2:28

And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

This is the Eternal Judgment as believers, that they have been Born-Again into a life eternal with the Lord. But sadly, there is also an Eternal Judgment as non-believers that will be a death eternal separated from the Lord.