The Will Of God 02 – What is God’s will?

The Will Of God 02 – What is God’s will?

I began a teaching series on this crucial subject of God’s will and how central it is to the Christian faith. I pointed out that almost the entire pages of Scriptures are lined with this subject, such that one could submit that to be oblivious of God’s will is akin to not being a Christian. It is also worthy of note that the apostle Paul laboured in the place of prayer that the church be filled with the knowledge of God’s will (Colossians 1:9). Because of these, I would love to attempt an explicit explanation of what God’s will is.

The will of God refers to His desire, counsel, plan and programme. It is what He wants to exist in all facets of existence, and what He wants done by all His creations, to the minutest detail.

God’s will is not just a passive broad blueprint for all of creation but an active plan of what He wants to do, has done, and is doing.

In the Old Testament, we saw God creating everything (Genesis 1), with the singular intent that they bring Him pleasure (Revelation 4;11). After the fall of man, He began His plan for mankind’s salvation which He instituted before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). He chose Abraham, and the race of Israel to establish His covenant. We saw His specific plan for Israel actualised which culminated in Christ. 

In the New Testament, we see Christ fulfilling God’s will in His life and ministry, and fulfilling His will in going to the cross. We also see that He has an overall plan for the church and specific plans for the believer.

Many people, believers inclusive, live their lives completely oblivious of God. Some who are God conscious see God as a tool. They believe He created them, and left them to decide what they want to do with their lives. They also see Him as all-powerful, and believe He would be very instrumental to them achieving their life-goals. So, they design their well thought-out plans and employ the all-powerful God to help them execute it. They achieve some success, and are elated and grateful to God. Only if they knew they have it all turned upside down.

God is creator and initiator. He has a plan which He began running even before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), and has created us to be a part of that plan. He wants to use us in the execution of that programme, and not we using Him. So, His plan is both broad and specific. Broad, encompassing all of creation, and yet beyond creation. Specific, containing fine details as regards you His creation, and the role you have in His overall plan.

I’d love to use the analogy of a car manufacturer to explain this. The ultimate plan is to make a car. He has smaller specific plans to manufacture the parts, like the engine, body, tires, internal fittings such as chairs, steering wheel, and so on. The completion of his specific plan of manufacturing each part will result in the completion of his overall goal of manufacturing the car. The parts are not the final goal, the car is.

Knowing this about God’s will helps the believer to respond in reverential awe to seek to know and do God’s will for his or her life that he or she may remain relevant to God’s overall programme.

If God permits, I will mention the different wills that exist and how they came about in the next study.

gidmedico

The Will Of God 01 – Intro

The Will Of God 01 – Intro

I currently have ten core values I live by. They kind of describe my worldview, which are of course based on God’s word. The second of these core values is this: I know and do God’s will. And then, this question may follow. What is the will of God?

I’ve come across a lot of believers who don’t know, or are not sure of what God’s will is. Some have been bedazzled by Bible scholars who spill jargons about this subject that are difficult to comprehend. Others have met other zealous folks who describe one action as God’s perfect will and another as his permissive will, and they are left the more confused. If you don’t understand what the will of God is, you are an unwise person. Or put more bluntly, you are a fool. Mind you, I didn’t call you that. The Bible did.

Ephesians five seventeen says that you should not be unwise or foolish but you should understand what the will of the Lord is. The will of God is one theme that all parts of Scripture talks about in one way or the other. Due to how fundamental and pivotal the knowledge of God’s will is, I would be taking a series of teachings on the subject as God leads me.

If God permits, we would consider the different wills that exist, the nature of God’s will – which is good, acceptable and perfect. We would also consider the overall programme of God, His will for creation, His counsel for the church and His specific will for the believer.

Amidst the discussion, we hopefully will consider how different people perceive God’s will; the right and wrong perceptions. Those whose perception can be described with the rail track analogy, and others whose perception fits the parking lot analogy.

We would hopefully cap up the series by considering how to know God’s will and the dividends of doing His will.

If Jesus sought nothing else but the will of His father (John 5:30), then you can’t, or better put, shouldn’t do otherwise. 

The series promises to be edifying as we seek to know and do God’s will together.

gidmedico

The Resurrection of the Dead 07 – FINALE

The Resurrection of the Dead 07 – FINALE

As I place the lid on this series of teaching, it is important that I remind you of the crux of this study in the first place. The resurrection of the dead is the believer’s hope.

Many believers are quick to quote what Paul said about himself in Philippians three verses thirteen and fourteen, “. . . forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press towards the mark. . .”, they would chant, a times, mindlessly. But when asked what that mark is, many are unsure. “I think it is heaven.” some will say. “It is when the believer dies.” others will guess. But there’s no need guessing. The preceding verses of that chapter contain the answer. “I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of His resurrection . . . becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:10-11)  Yes, that is the mark, at the very end of that statement. The goal of our Christian walk is to partake in the resurrection from the dead.

Still speaking about our hope as believers, the Scripture in Colossians chapter one verse twenty-seven says, “To His people, God has chosen to reveal among the gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Because we have accepted Christ, and because He resides in us, the seal of His Spirit been ingrained in our spirit, we can joyously look forward to that moment when we would partake in the resurrection from the dead, laying aside this mortal body, and taking up the incorruptible immortal body.

The apostle John took off from where the apostle Paul stopped in first John three, verses two and three. “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” In other words, the apostle by the Holy Spirit was saying that we are sure of one thing, and should be elated about it. That when Jesus shall appear (obviously that will be when He appears in the rapture), we will be like Him – spirit, soul and body. For we shall see Him as He is; for nothing will be hidden from us, having attained the perfection that we’ve hitherto worked towards. He then says that if this is our hope; if we daily ponder on this, keeping our eyes fixed on Christ; if during the trials and temptations, we encourage ourselves that one day, at the resurrection of the dead, we will wear our immortal bodies and radiate a glory similar to that of Christ; then we keep ourselves pure, just as Christ, who is in us, is pure.

The believer should have this hope. This very hope. That he will be like Christ, at the resurrection; and spend eternity with Him, beholding His glory; if only he will stay the tide, enduring to the end.

gidmedico

The Resurrection of the dead 06 – The Second Resurrection

The Resurrection of the dead 06 – The Second Resurrection

In previous expositions, I mentioned that there exists two types of resurrections: the first, being the resurrection of believers and, the second resurrection for unbelievers. I’d like to dwell on the second.

This resurrection is also called the resurrection of the unjust, or the resurrection to damnation (John 5:29). All those who died as unbelievers, having failed to accept Jesus into their lives on earth, will not resurrect in the rapture; neither will those unbelievers who will die during the seven years of tribulation resurrect during the return of Christ to reign on the earth. But all these dead unbelievers will be reserved for another time, to be resurrected. Which time? The great white throne judgement.

This judgement will consummate all dispensations, ushering everything back into the flow of eternity. After Jesus’ one thousand year-reign on earth with the saints, the devil been bound during this period; the devil is released for a while. He goes into the world and deceives people, then his own final judgement comes. The devil, and all his agents (demons) will be cast into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone; then the great white throne judgement would occur.

I believe it’s qualified as great because God Himself, sitted on His white (holy) throne, will supervise the judgement. All the dead unbelievers, both small and great, peasants and presidents, paupers and rich people, will be resurrected and stand before God. No one, I mean no one will escape this judgement.

Now some may ask, what of those whose bodies died during a shipwreck and have decomposed in the sea? What of those who were burnt alive, or cremated into ashes? How will they be resurrected and stand before God in a resurrected body? The Bible in Revelations twenty verses eleven to thirteen says they will. It says the sea will surrender those who died in it. Even death and hell will deliver those who are in it, for this judgement.

The proceedings of the judgement will be thus. God will open two books, the books of records and the book of life. The book of records will contain documentations about the life of each individual. Every activity of that person on earth will be documented herein. The book of life is then opened. This book contains only names of those who accepted Jesus during their life on earth. God will judge these resurrected dead from these books. Whoever’s name is not found written in the book of life is cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. This is called the second death. As many as partake in the first resurrection, that is saints, will not experience the second death (Revelations 20:6). But as many as resurrect (in the second resurrection), and partake in the white throne judgement, are doomed to experience the second death.

A good observer may ask, “Why is the great white throne judgement needed at all? When all who partake in it will eventually be cast into the lake of fire, because their names will not be found in the book of life.” My submission. I think it’s God’s way of showing that He is just. He needs to hold a formal court proceeding, open the evidence to each unbelieving resurrected dead, and convict him or her from the books of records, and the book of life, before been hurled into eternal damnation.

The good news is that we believers will be spared of this resurrection and damnation, if we endure to the end. The horrid picture the lake of fire and brimstone leaves in our imaginations, should make us as believers to make haste, and be dutiful with the master’s assignment of soul winning.

gidmedico

The Resurrection of the Dead 05 – The Resurrected Body

The Resurrection of the Dead 05 – The Resurrected Body

I have a friend. She became somewhat confused about the subject of the resurrection of the Dead and asked, “Gideon, a godly person who dies is said to go to heaven immediately. If that be the case, how can we reconcile this with the scripture in First Thessalonian four that says the dead in Christ shall rise first, if these same dead had risen immediately they died?”

I responded to her question by stating explicitly what part of man goes to heaven immediately after death. That when a man dies, his spirit that has a soul goes to God for judgement (Ecclesiastes 3:21; Hebrews 9:27). If he is of Christ and died in Christ, that spirit goes to heaven; else, he goes to hell. But the body of the dead remains in the grave (or wherever it is – sea, fire, ashes etc.), awaiting the resurrection. She then sorted further clarification by asking, “Was that what Paul meant when he said in First Corinthians fifteen forty-two that the body is sown in corruption, dishonour, weakness and a natural body but raised in incorruption, glory, power and a spiritual body?”

I responded by saying, “Exactly! The resurrection is all about the body. The birthing of a new body. It’s when the salvation of the body will take place. At salvation, our spirit was saved (John 3:6; 2 Corinthians 5:17). Our soul is being saved (James 1:21), a process which will be completed when Christ comes. And at the rapture, our bodies will be saved (2 Corinthians 5:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).” Then light came. She was awed. And grateful.

Then it occurred to me that some may lack insight into the concept of the salvation of the body and the resurrected body.

The salvation of the body is the believer’s hope. The Living Bible puts Second Corinthians five verses one and two thus, “For we know that when this tent we live in now is taken down—when we die and leave these bodies — we will have wonderful new bodies in heaven, homes that will be ours forevermore, made for us by God himself and not by human hands. How weary we grow of our present bodies. That is why we look forward eagerly to the day when we shall have heavenly bodies that we shall put on like new clothes.”

We would get new bodies (spiritual, incorruptible) in the resurrection. It is called the salvation of the body, and it is still futuristic. It would happen when Christ shall come to rapture His church. The body we currently wear is a natural one. It is called the body of sin (Romans 6:6; 7:18, 23;). It is of this world, has its limitations, can be weary, sick and destroyed.

Some believers think they can get to some supernatural height in their walk with God when their bodies will cease to be natural and they would no longer grow weary or faint. There’s no such thing! I’m not saying the spirit of God cannot come on a believer and quicken his physical body to do supernatural things. In fact, this should be a common occurrence among us, like we see in Bible days. But bear in mind that the body has its limits, because it’s still natural. It needs rest. But when we take up our spiritual bodies, all the physical restraints experienced by our natural bodies will be done away with.

If you ever get confused, or are lacking clue as to how your resurrected body would look like, then look to Christ. He already has His resurrected body. When did He get His? After His resurrection.

I came across an article about the glorified body of Christ that stated that the body of Christ before and after His resurrection was the same. I do not completely agree with this based on what I find in God’s word. Before Jesus’ death and resurrection, He had the same body like you do now. A natural body. Romans eight verse three says God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. It meant Jesus had the body of sin like you currently do. The difference is that He kept it subjected to His spirit, and hence He did not sin.

Some may counter, “Don’t tell me Jesus didn’t have a supernatural body when he was on earth! How then did He walk on water? And all the other supernatural things He did in the flesh? How could a natural body accomplish them?” I’d respond by saying He did those supernatural things because His mortal body was used as an instrument, being under subjection to the spirit of God. But may I quickly remind you that the body of Christ grew weary and he needed to rest at the well in Samaria. He was hungry and His disciples got Him food. His body didn’t want Him to go to the cross in the garden of Gethsemane, but He finally put it under and did the Father’s will.

After Jesus’ resurrection, He had a resurrected body. This was different from his physical body because it was spiritual, immortal. But it was as real as His physical body. It bore His same identity. The disciples could recognise Jesus by His body. When He appeared to them in the upper room in Luke’s gospel chapter twenty-four, they were terrified because they thought He was a spirit. He allayed their fears, saying He wasn’t just a spirit. He was real. Real to both the physical and spiritual worlds.

To prove this, Christ asked them to touch Him. They felt His body. They could put their fingers in the holes created by the nails on the cross. He went further to ask them if they had food, which they brought. He sat with them and they ate together. Then it dawned on them that Christ was real. He was risen. They were not looking at the spirit of someone who had died. They were seeing someone who had a spirit and soul, in a resurrected body, different from theirs.

This resurrected body was different from theirs. It was incorruptible, glorious, with no physical restraint. It had no weakness but rather exuded power. It could not sin, neither was it a source of temptation. No person before Christ had ever worn this resurrected body. He was the first of His kind. And we would put on that same resurrected body in the resurrection, when Christ comes for His church in the rapture. That is, and should be, the believer’s hope.

So, the next time you get confused about the resurrection of the dead, or how your resurrected body would look like; look to Christ.

gidmedico

The Resurrection of the Dead 04 – The First Resurrection

The Resurrection of the Dead 04 – The First Resurrection

You may have come across Scriptures like those in Revelations, the twentieth chapter, the fourth through the sixth verse, in which statements like, “…blessed and holy are those who take part in the first resurrection…” or those in John five twenty-nine, in which statements like, “…they that have done good shall come forth, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation,” which may provoke questions like: what is the first resurrection? Does it mean there is going to be a second, or a third resurrection? Who will partake in the first resurrection?

Well, let me continue by stating that there are only two resurrections, a first, and a second. The first resurrection is also called the resurrection of the just, or the resurrection of life, or a better resurrection (Hebrews 11:35). While the second resurrection is that of the unjust. I’d be dwelling on the first resurrection.
The first resurrection programme is a continuum, and would terminate at the second coming of Christ to reign on earth. Christ was the first person to partake in it. First Corinthians fifteen twenty calls Christ, the first fruit of them that slept. His resurrection was a prototype of how the just will be raised. 

At Christ’s resurrection, Matthew’s gospel, the twenty-seventh chapter, the fifty-second through the fifty-third verse, mentioned that the graves of many saints were opened, and their bodies were resurrected after the resurrection of Christ and they appeared to people in the city. Which saints these were, was not explicitly stated. But we would suppose they were the Old Testament saints. We would suppose, even though Scripture doesn’t state explicitly, that they rose in the form and manner in which Christ did, and ascended to heaven with Him. This also partook in the first resurrection.

Christ was not just a mere Spirit after He resurrected. He had a resurrected body. When He appeared to the disciples in the upper room after His resurrection, they thought He was a spirit. But He beckoned on them to touch Him. They felt His hands and feet for the defect were the nails went through. Then it dawned on them that He was real. For a spirit has no flesh and bones (Luke 24:38-39).

In like manner, we all, the church saints, will partake in this type of resurrection that Christ partook of. What will be the timing? The rapture. For at the rapture, the dead in Christ (that is, those would died, been saved by grace) would rise first with their incorruptible spiritual bodies, then we that are alive (having been born again), and remain (walking in holiness) will be changed to an incorruptible body and be caught up, to meet the Lord. This will happen in a twinkling of the eyes. And this is the first resurrection (1 Thesselonian 4:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52)

After the rapture, some people would become saved within the seven years of tribulation. These are called the tribulation saints. Those that died during the tribulation, would be raised back to life at the second advent of Christ to reign on earth, at the end of the tribulation period. This is also part of the first resurrection (Revelation 20:3-5).

The two witnesses of God (that represent the two olive trees and the two candlesticks) that will stand before the antichrist and prophesy for 1260 days, during which no one would be able to hurt them, but afterwards be killed, at about the middle of the seven years of the tribulation, and after 3½ days, resurrect, and ascend to heaven. This is still part of the first resurrection (Revelation 11:1-12).

Christ is the Resurrection and Life, who came to show us how to live in the human flesh, and also became the first fruit from the dead, showing us what we would become, in the spiritual flesh.

For we know that when Christ shall appear, we shall be like Him (spirit, soul, body), for we see Him as He is. This is the Believer’s hope. And herein should we derive comfort (1 John 3:2-3)

gidmedico

The Resurrection of the Dead 03 – The Resurrection and Christianity

The Resurrection of the Dead 03 – The Resurrection and Christianity

I mentioned in the introductory to this study that the teaching of the resurrection of the dead is fundamental and crucial to the christian faith. I want to go further to buttress why.

Apostle Paul used a whole chapter, containing fifty-eight verses to explain to the church in Corinth the importance of the resurrection. That chapter was First Corinthians fifteen. 

There was a lot of ignorance looming in the Corinthian church as regards this matter. There was even a group of folks that believed and taught that there was no resurrection, just like the Sadducees did. Paul had to write this discuss to address it.

He started by reminding them that the doctrine of the resurrection was ingrained in the gospel of Christ. The gospel was simply this – Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again on the third day, appeared to many, which were living witnesses, before ascending to heaven. And this was exactly what they preached. So if some Christians were saying there is no resurrection of the dead, then it means they had believed a lie. Because the gospel which they believed says that Christ resurrected. So if Christ never resurrected, the apostles preaching was useless and so was their faith.

He then said that more importantly, if there was no resurrection, they were false witnesses and liers by preaching the gospel. And if Christ wasn’t raised, then we are still in our sins. Those who died as Christians holding on to their faith were eternally lost, and we which are alive, are of all men, most miserable.

These were rather hard statements, made by the apostle. But he made them to drive home his point. The resurrection is an irrefutable fact. It’s not just a speculation or a theory, it has been experienced. Christ first partook of it. He is the first fruit of those who died. He was the first to partake in the resurrection unto life, called the first resurrection. And the church would also partake in it just like Christ did.

So, no resurrection, no christianity. It’s why the Quran, among other things, denies the death and resurrection of Jesus. It says Christ never died on the cross. It was made to appear like He did. And if He never died, He never resurrected. If the Quran had approved of Christ resurrection, it would have been peddling Christianity and the gospel of Christ, and even the Muslims would have been saved.

If this teaching of the resurrection of the dead is this crucial to our faith, then every Believer should be grounded in it, and be ready to give an answer to anyone that asks him of this hope of the resurrection (1 Peter 3:15)

gidmedico