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The Rapture

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The word rapture refers to an event which will mark the end of the Church Age and which will be an occasion of great joy to Christian believers. All believers, both those who have died and those who are alive at the time, will be taken up to meet Jesus Christ, who will have returned to “the air”, earth’s atmosphere. Then, the Christians and the Lord Jesus will return to heaven together. At the time of the Rapture, Christ will not set foot on earth; and He will be visible only to believers. READ 1 Thess. 4:17; Acts 1:11.

The Rapture is to be distinguished from the Second Advent of Christ. While the Rapture sets the stage for the Second Coming, these are two separate events. A chart giving comparisons between these two future appearances of Christ is found in a later section of this article.

There has been controversy for many generations concerning the timing of the final events in human history. The position held by the majority of categorical and fundamental Bible teachers is as follows:

  • We are presently in the dispensation known as the Church Age, and we do not know when this age will end.
  • The Rapture will occur at the end of the Church Age; and the day of the Rapture will be the first day of the sever-year period known as the Great Tribulation.
  • The Second Coming of Christ will occur on the last day of the Tribulation period and will usher in the thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ.

The statements above are part of a position, or viewpoint, concerning the chronology of the final events of human history, a doctrinal concept known as the Pre–Tribulation Rapture / Pre–Millennium Tribulation view. There are several other schools of though among Christian scholars; and this article does not attempt to sort out the differences in these viewpoints categorically.

The study of the various points of view, and an examination of the proofs that the Pre-Tribulation/Pre-Millennial position is the correct one, is indeed a fascinating study. But the students needs considerable background to handle such research, including a thorough knowledge of general prophecy, a good general orientation to the whole Bible, and a lot of practice in tracing threads of logic through interwoven networks of Bible doctrine. For the time being we will settle for …

A Description of the Rapture

The Rapture was promised by the Lord Jesus Christ just before His crucifixion, John 14:1–3. At the Rapture, He keeps His promise and fulfills the prophecy. The Rapture completes the Redemption of the body because the believer receives a resurrection body at that time, Phil. 3:20,21; 1 John 3:1,2. It would be useful at this point to read the description of the Rapture in 1 Cor. 15:51–53 and then to note the comments below concerning the terminology used.

mystery – a doctrine “hidden” from the Old Testament saints. The Rapture is pertinent only to the Church Age and was never revealed to believers living before the beginning of the Church Age.

we shall not all sleep — i.e., there will be some believers alive at the time of the Rapture.

we shall all be changed – refers to the resurrection body.

in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye – a reference to the time element. The Rapture is not a long, drawn out process of evacuation. We will be with Christ instantly.

the dead shall be raised incorruptible – the resurrection body does not include the decay and corruption of sin and death.

we shall all be changed – another reference to the new physical body and new personal attributes associated with the resurrection body.

this corruptible must put on incorruption -the most important feature of the resurrection body is that there will be no Sin Nature.

this mortal must put on immortality – the believer will not die but will receive an immortal body.

The dead in Christ (believers who have died previous to the Rapture) will be raised first. Then, those who are still alive will be taken up. 1 Thess. 4:16,17.

The Rapture is a rendezvous for living and dead Christians. Confidence in the Rapture is based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1 Thess. 4:18.

In principle, the Lord Jesus Christ is the “first fruits” of the believer, as noted in 1 Cor. 15:20–23. Read this passage first, then note the following comments:

firstfruits – pictures the resurrection of Christ which is a guarantee of our bodily resurrection.

by man came death – through Adam came spiritual death with the end result of physical death for every human.

by man came also the resurrection – by Jesus Christ, in His humanity, came spiritual resurrection (salvation) followed by physical resurrection, Phil. 3:21.

The word “hope”, translated from the Greek word ἐλπίς (elpis), meaning “confidence”, is a technical designation for the Rapture in at least three Bible passages, including:

  • The living hope, 1 Peter 1:3
  • The blessed hope, Titus 2:13
  • The purifying hope, 1 John 3:3

The Rapture takes the sting out of death, 1 Cor. 15:54–56. Therefore, the Rapture removes the despair of bereavement, 1 Thess. 4:13–18. This confidence in the Rapture comes through the obtaining of wisdom, discernment, and knowledge of the Plan of God, Job 19:25–27. The edified believer has confidence. The result is blessing, peace, a relaxed mental attitude, and stability.

The believer has a “reservation” in heaven, 1 Peter 1:4; Eph. 2:6. The Rapture takes the believer to the “mansion” which Christ has prepared in advance, John 14.

The testing which the believer and the Church endure during the Church Age is terminated with the Rapture. The Body of Christ is no longer a target of Satan in spiritual warfare.

It is not known, and cannot be predicted, when the Rapture will occur. Nevertheless, the Bible directs us to pursue certain activities while waiting for the Rapture. These are given in the last section of this article. Meanwhile, take a look at …

What to do While Waiting for the Rapture

Stay in Fellowship. “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.” 1 John 2:28

Employ the Faith-Rest techniques. “Now we beseech you, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by forged letters as from us, as that day of Christ is at hand.” 2 Thess. 2:1,2

Have Confidence. “Being confident of this very things, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil. 1:6

Have Patience. “Be patient, therefore, unto the coming of the Lord…” James 5:7

Grow in Christ by continuing to be edified. “…be ye also patient, stablish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” James 5:8 See also Isaiah 33:4 and 2 Tim. 2:15

Contrasts Between the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ

The Rapture

The Second Coming of Christ

Only believers see Christ. The Rapture is private. Heb. 9:28; Acts 1:11

Every eye shall see Him. The Second Coming of Christ is public. Rev. 1:7

Christ meets believers in the air, 1 Thess. 4:17

Christ sets foot on the Mount of Olives, Zech. 14:4

Believers are taken off the earth, John 14:3

Unbelievers are taken off the earth, Mt. 24:37f

Believers go to heaven, 1 Thess. 4:17

At the Second Coming, believers come back to earth with Christ, 1 Thess. 3:13; Col. 3:4;, 2 Thess 4:13; Zech. 14:5

There is no timetable for the Rapture

The Second Coming is seven years after the Rapture, Matt. 24:29-30

Believers are rewarded. 1 Cor. 3:11-15; Rev. 22:12

Unbelievers are judged at the Second Coming; the Baptism of Fire takes place, Matt. 25:31,32,46

The Rapture is a source of comfort to the believer, 1 Thess. 4:18

The Second Coming of Christ is a source of terror for the unbeliever, Rev. 6:15-17

There are no changes in nature associated with the Rapture

There are many changes in nature associated with the Second Coming, Isa. 35

The world is not judged at the Rapture.

The people of the world are judged, Jude 15

The Rapture is a mystery of the Church Age, 1 Cor. 15:51

The Second Coming is the subject of extensive prophecy in the Old Testament.

The unconditional covenants such as those with Abraham and David are not fulfilled at the Rapture.

The covenants are fulfilled at the Second Coming; Israel inherits her possessions.

There is no dealing with Satan or demons at the Rapture.

At the Second Coming, Satan is bound for a thousand years, Rev. 20:2.

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Peace of God, and Peace with God

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The word peace in the Bible, from the Greek word (EIREINEI), refers to a mental attitude of tranquility based on a relationship with God in the Christian way of life. It is a word which describes the result of a person’s correct response to God’s grace.

The Bible uses peace in two ways. There is personal peace with God which comes when a person accepts Jesus Christ as savior. Then, there is the peace of God which is available on a daily basis as the believer participates in the Christian way of life according to the plan of God.

So, where you find peace mentioned in the Bible it refers either to the reconciliation of a Christian in salvation, as in Ephesians 2:14,17, or to the mental attitude found in the believers described in 2 Timothy 1:7.

Peace with God – Peace in Salvation

Peace with God is never available apart from grace. The cross of Christ is the focal point of grace and is the source of peace. Jesus Christ is our eternal peace.

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

Grace removed the barrier and made peace between man and God. So, when the unbeliever responds to grace by faith, the result is peace.

Ephesians 2:14-18 provides a good illustration of how God made it possible for anyone to have peace with God, with special emphasis on the fact that such different people as Jews and Gentiles have a clear opportunity for accepting Christ.

Verse 14 deals with peace as a product of reconciliation. Verse 15 explains that the enmity between God and man, that which we call the barrier, was abolished once and for all. Verses 16 to 18 explain that the enmity has been slain for both Jews and Gentiles so that now those who were near to God, the Jews, and those who were far off, non Jews, have been brought into union with Christ through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Peace in the Christian Way of Life

In our lifetime we can experience peace on a daily basis. When the believer responds by faith to grace, God provides many blessings which can result in great inner happiness.

Isaiah 26:3,4 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.”

In the Christian way of life, peace comes through fellowship with God followed by daily growth and advancement in spiritual things which brings stability, a relaxed mental attitude, orientation to the plan of God, occupation with Christ and the ability to employ faith rest principles in all areas of life.

Read Philippians 4:6-9

Peace or tranquility, precedes the enjoyment of prosperity. It is part of the preparation for prosperity. One must have peace to have the capacity for prosperity. God may hold prosperity back until there is the capacity to enjoy it.

Acts 9:31 “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, were multiplied.”

Read Jeremiah 29:1-7

Any loss of peace is followed by adjustment to the plan of God. Confession and restoration to fellowship, faith rest a relaxed mental attitude and peace will appear in the new situation from God’s viewpoint and follower of Christ can choose to accept God’s best plan for you.

The man or woman who receive grace and peace from the Lord is in perfect position for spiritual production and reproduction.

Read James 3:13-18

The peace of God is shown through wisdom. The Christian has to choose to follow God’s wisdom which is first pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits which is unwavering without hypocrisy. The Christian can choose to follow the wisdom of the world which is leads to bitter jealousy, selfish ambition, disorder and every evil thing. Choosing God’s wisdom leads to peace in every day decision making. God allows you to make this choice of which source of wisdom to follow every day.

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The Christian Walk

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Besides the examples of physical walking in the Bible, there are many references to two types of spiritual walking:

  • Walking which is advancing in the Christian life through the use of divine power, and
  • Walking in evil or controlled by the sin nature and using human energy, results in stagnation, retrogression or backsliding.

So, in walking, a Christian is either advancing or retreating. To advance, a believer must walk according to God’s plan, stay in fellowship and grow in Christ. To retreat in the spiritual life is to reside in Satan’s cosmic system.

Therefore, walking denotes many functions, both pro and con, in the spiritual life.

New Testament Words for Walking

The Greek word (peripatew) means to walk or to walk around. It is used for literal walking in Matt. 4:18. But peripatew is used primarily for the function of the plan of God in the church age in such passages as:

Rom. 6:4, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk (peripatew) in newness of life.”

Gal. 5:16, 17, “But I say, walk (peripatew) by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”

Eph. 4:1, 2, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk (peripatew) in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love,”

Eph. 5:1, 2, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk (peripatew) in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

The spiritual walk of believers who are out of fellowship is described in the following:

1 Cor. 3:1-3, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking (peripatew) like mere men?”

Phil. 3:17-19, “Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk (peripatew) according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk (peripatew), of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.”

The way of life of an unbeliever is also described by the word walk:

Eph. 2:1-3, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked (peripatew) according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

Col. 3:5-7, “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is on account of these things that the wrath of God will come, and in them you also once walked (peripatew), when you were living in them.”

The Greek word (stoichew) means to march in step; to march in rank; to walk in agreement with; to function in a system; to follow a leader from the ranks. It is used in the New Testament primarily for functioning under God’s plan and advancing in that plan to spiritual maturity.

Gal. 5:25, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk (stoichew) by the Spirit.”

Stoichew is used for the pattern of salvation by faith in Christ also called walking by faith.

Rom. 4:11, 12, “and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be reckoned to them, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps (stoichew) of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.”

Stoichew is used for following the rules of the new spiritual life in

Gal. 6:16, “And those who will walk (stoichew) by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.”

Phil. 3:16, “however, let us keep living by that same standard (stoichew) to which we have attained.”

The word poreuomai) means to go; to proceed; to travel; to conduct oneself in a certain manner; to live; to walk. It is used for national degeneration:

Acts 14:16, “And in the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go poreuomai) their own ways;”

It is used for the carnal life pattern of the unbeliever:

1 Pet. 4:3, “For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued poreuomai) a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.”

Jude 16-18, “These are grumblers, finding fault, following after poreuomai) their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage. But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, “In the last time there shall be mockers, following after poreuomai) their own ungodly lusts.“”

See also 2 Pet. 2:10

It is used for occupation with the person of Jesus Christ on the part of believers:

Acts 9:31, “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and, going on poreuomai) in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.”

The Greek (anastrephw) originally meant in the Attic Greek to upset; to overrun; to associate. Its figurative meaning was to behave or to function in terms of human conduct. It was also used for the practice of principles.

In the Bible, anastrephw is used for the conduct and the lifestyle of the unbeliever in Eph. 2:3.

It is used for motivation for Christian integrity.

Heb. 13:18, “Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct (anastrephw) ourselves honorably in all things.”

It is used for the operation of the sin nature.

Eph. 4:22, “that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside (anastrephw) the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,”

It is used for life and conduct in Christian way of life.

2 Pet. 3:11, 12, “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct (anastrephw) and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!”

The Greek word (orthopedew) means to walk straight. It is used for legalistic modus operandi and resultant hypocrisy in Gal. 2:14; in other words, they were not walking straight.

Walking in the Light vs. Walking in Darkness

Walking in the light is a term used specifically for the believer’s execution of God’s will, plan and purpose for the church age. The concept of walking in the light is found in Eph. 5:8, “You were once in darkness , but now you are light in the Lord. Begin walking (peripatew) as children of light.”

This command is a reference to experiential sanctification. Walking in the light is synonymous for the Christian way of life.

Just as walking in the darkness is incompatible with walking in light, so Christian degeneracy is incompatible with the plan of God.

Walking in the light is compatible with the status of being in the light. Walking in darkness is not compatible with the status of being in the light. A Christian walking in darkness is degenerate, whether moral, immoral or both.

The command to walk in the light means that God intends for a Christian to be filled with the Spirit and to learn the word of God under the filling of the Spirit.

The Lord Jesus is our precedent for walking in the light:

1 John 2:6, “The person who says he abides in Him, he himself ought to keep walking in the same manner as He walked.”

Our example for the Christian walk is the Lord Jesus Christ during the His life on earth, not the walk of Old Testament believers.

Walking as children of light means we are to become spiritually mature believers.

The power for walking comes from using the power of the Holy Spirit on the inside, Gal. 5:16, walk by means of the Spirit. This is a command to remain in fellowship with God the Holy Spirit. Being in fellowship is the only way we can execute God’s plan.

Walking describes the purpose of living in the operational will of God to glorify God in the church age.

We are commanded in 1 Thess. 2:12, “so that you may walk in a manner worthy of God who elected you into His kingdom and glory.” This is a general reference to the fulfillment of the plan of God.

If we are going to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord after we believe in Christ, then we must be filled with the Spirit, and continually expose ourselves to the teaching of the word of God.

If we do all of this, then we fulfill 1 John 1:7, “If we keep walking in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.”

The challenge of walking in the light is found in Rom. 6:4, “Therefore, we have been buried with Him through baptism, in order that as Christ has been raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so that we too might walk in newness of life.”

  • Walking in newness of life means we walk in the light of the word of God.
  • We walk in newness of life because we are in union with Christ.
  • Walking in newness of life means using all of the assets God has provided for us: the availability of divine power; the indwelling of the Trinity; our portfolio of spiritual blessings; our universal priesthood and ambassadorship, etc.

The faith rest principle is also a mandate for walking. Faith rest exercise provides the poise of the Christian life. Applying faith rest you control your own life under God’s plan for your life.

2 Cor. 5:7, “For we walk by faith and not by sight.”

Col. 2:6, “As you have received Christ Jesus to yourselves, so keep walking by means of Him.”

The concept of walking is used for the function of problem solving in the Christian way of life.

Eph. 5:1, 2, “Become imitators of your God as beloved posterity, and begin walking in the sphere of love…”

Learning and using the problem solving devices moves you along in executing the plan of God, which is walking in the light.

Eph. 4:1 ,2, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, encourage you to walk in a manner worthy of your station in life into which you have been called with all humility and true sensitivity with perseverance, tolerate one another by means of love.”

All of these commands to keep walking are commands to keep learning doctrine, to keep advancing spiritually in the Christian way of life.

Walking in Darkness is Related to Satan’s Strategy of Evil

Walking is used as a warning against the cosmic system. John 8:12 is the prophecy of this.

Living in Satan’s system is called walking.

Phil. 3:18, 19, “For many keep walking, concerning whom I have often told you, even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ. Whose termination is destruction, whose God is their emotions, whose fame comes by means of dishonor, who keep on thinking about earthly things.”

1 John 1:6, “If we contend that we have fellowship with Him and keep walking in darkness, we lie and do not live the truth.”

1 Cor. 3:3, “For you are still carnal, since there is jealousy and strife. And you keep walking in accordance with men.”

Life in the cosmic system also called evil is called walking in darkness.

John 11:9, 10, “Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”

Eph. 4:17-19, “So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;”

Walking is Related to Executing God’s Plan.

Eph. 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared in advance that we should be walking by means of them.”

  • At salvation we became His creation, a new spiritual species.
  • We are to walk by means of the things prepared by God for us in eternity past, such as the problem solving devices. The result is divine good: gold, silver, precious stones

Col. 1:9, 10, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;”

This is the point at which you fulfill all the commands for walking.

Walking is used for a mandate to advance to the objective of spiritual maturity.

1 Thess. 4:1, “Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you may excel still more.”

More References to Walking

Walking by means of the indwelling Holy Spirit:

Rom. 8:1-4, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

Basic Christian living: we received Christ by faith, so now we walk by faith.

2 Cor. 5:7, “For we walk by faith and not by sight.”

Col. 2:6, “As you have received Christ Jesus to yourselves, so keep walking in Him.”

Building up momentum in spiritual things:

3 John 4, “I have no greater joy that this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.”

Eph. 5:16-17, “making the most of you time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is”

Col. 1:9, 10, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord , to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;”

Walking related to the application of doctrine:

Col. 4:5, 6, “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.”

Eph. 5:1-2, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

Testing as part of the Christian walk:

Read Rom. 13:13-14; Eph. 4:17; Phil. 3:17-19

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Suffering – A discussion of the suffering experienced by believers and unbelievers; deserved and undeserved suffering; how to avoid some forms of suffering; suffering for blessing.

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Peace of God in the Midst of Trouble


This paper is an outline study to give you a start in thinking about the subject of suffering and to provide a catalogue to the many scripture passages relating to suffering. You would think that such a subject would be dreadful to study, but in the wonderful plan of God, the worst things are always the best things. As you read this article, look up the Bible passages that are indicated and ask the Lord to give you insight into His viewpoint on the issues raised.

We don’t have to look far to see that there is a lot of suffering going on in the world. The media provide us with endless information on the plight of unfortunate people all over the world. We are certainly aware that in America most people don’t suffer as do people in third world countries.

But we are also aware that we are members of the human race, and that some disaster, small or great, can come at any time without warning, something that makes us one of the statistics. Auto accident, cancer, tornado, volcano, falling airplanes…in fact we can suffer a lot just worrying about all the things that could happen to us. The Fickle Finger of Fate can zero in at any time with some kind of prime suffering – loss of job, loss of money, house burns down, etc.

The Whole Human Race Suffers

It is a startling fact that part of God’s plan for every human being includes a certain amount of suffering. All people suffer: rich or poor, smart or dumb, American or African, Christian or non-Christian. Suffering of some kind is part of God’s Plan of Grace, if you can imagine that.

Suffering can be defined as the removal or reduction (some curtailment or loss) of one or more of the things that make up the good things of life as we know it, things we call details of life. Details of life are any of dozens of features that make up a person’s life, things related to his personal life, family life, social life, or community and national life. Things like loved ones, friends, money, cars, health, marriage, sex, job, house, possessions, social life, etc., are all details of life; and when you lose one of these things that you enjoy, the result is suffering.

We identify two types of happiness in life. The first type is human happiness which is happiness derived from any of the details of life. The other type is divine happiness which is the inner joy produced as part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in the life of the advancing believer in the Christian Way of Life.

Human happiness is temporary and dependent. It lasts only as long as the thing that provides the happiness. It depends on a detail of life to sustain it.

God’s happiness is independent of anything in this world; it is possible, the Bible says, “to be content in whatsoever state I am”, that is, to have a deep inner happiness and contentment that does not depend on other people, material possessions, or circumstances.

One way of describing suffering is to say that suffering comes from the removal of the human happiness. You can see, then, that if a person possesses God’s joy (+H), the loss of human happiness is much more tolerable.

Suffering occurs by several means in human life, both for Christians and unbelievers, including the following:

  • Suffering by loss of health – physical pain, illness, accident, loss of function, etc.
  • Suffering by privation – the lack of something necessary such as food, shelter, clothing, transportation.
  • Suffering from the weather – freezing weather or hot, storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, as well as earthquakes, volcanoes.
  • Suffering from mental anguish – worry, sorrow, anguish, fears, phobias, bitterness, jealousy, not the least of which is “suffering by anticipation”.
  • Suffering from justice, the long arm of the law, deserved or undeserved.
  • Suffering caused by other people. As long as there are two people in the same location…well, you know what I mean.

What About My Rights?

Many of our cares come from somebody’s trampling on our rights, or what we think of as our rights. Don’t you feel that you have a right to

  • Privacy
  • Possessions
  • Courteous treatment
  • Dignity
  • Consideration
  • Equal treatment
  • A fair share
  • Equal opportunity
  • etc, etc?

But where does it say that I have any rights at all? Do I have the right to be an American, to be in a good family, to be educated, to have enough food every day, to have a house, to be married to a fine person, to have good children, to have enough money?

It is clear from the Scriptures that we really have no rights whatsoever. The Lord has placed us in an environment with a certain supply of the gifts of His grace, and we didn’t earn any of them. Everything we have, and everything we are able to obtain, comes as a result of the Grace of God; we have deserved nothing!

One of the most useful practices in the Christian way of life is to “cast all care” on God, as He invites us to do. You can think of this as the act of turning all your rights over to God, which amounts to a practical reliance on God for total provision, including giving to us those rights which He sees fit.

We suffer needlessly because we demand our rights. We have no rights. We have only our just deserts, “the wages of sin is death”, which, by the grace of God, have been taken care of by the work of Christ. We are aware that one of the best things we can teach children is to be thankful for what they have, and to stop fretting about what they don’t have. Children complain about things not being fair or not being divided equally, but when these traits show up in adults, it is a sign that more growth in grace is needed.

Phil. 2:1-8

Col. 3:12-17

These passages indicate that the more relaxed a person is with regard to the details of life, the less he will experience the ill effects of some types of suffering. Often the amount of suffering can be limited through having a relxed mental attitude toward a person or situation. Even severe privation or emotional trauma caused by the sin or hatred of another person can be reduced remarkably by the use of principles of Faith Rest, forgiveness, by relying on the Father for all provision, by allowing God to protect your reputation, etc.

General Suffering in the World

An individual will have his allotted portion of suffering as a member of the human race as described above. Many people have no concept of “all things working together for good.” Their main goal in life is to reduce his own suffering to a minimum, even if it means making other people suffer to do it.

God intends, as part of His Plan, for suffering to awaken a person to the reality of the existence of God, to motivate positive volition at the point of God consciousness. Whatever the immediate cause of his suffering, the ultimate reason is that of directing his attention to the person of Jesus Christ. Suffering has a tendency to slow people down, to reduce their arrogance, to reduce their self-righteousness, their self-satisfaction, their self-reliance.

Think about it – where would you be today if everything had always been rosy, and you were unfailingly prosperous in all areas of life? Would you be going to church, taking in the Word, trying to figure out God’s answers to life’s dilemmas?

What about people who are suffering great deprivation because of locale (Bangladesh or the Sahel), or because of war, or because of cruel ideologies? Are these things part of the grace of God? An important fact is that God knows the spiritual needs of every person in the world, and He knows every person’s mental makeup. Only He can decide what combination of blessing and suffering is the best recipe for encouraging a person to become a Christian. He does not force man’s volition; but He will allow circumstances to develop around a person which will direct his attention toward Himself.

Why Believers Suffer

Christians suffer for many reasons, sometimes through no fault of their own. A Christian will experience a normal amount of suffering as part of human existence. But if a believer stays in fellowship with God and grows in Christ consistently, this type of suffering can be a great blessing and an opportunity to witness to other believers and to the unsaved.

Suffering that the Christian Can Avoid

To the backslidden Christian who is out of fellowship and already quite miserable, however, suffering never brings blessing, and everything he touches turns to misery. Even the details of life don’t make him happy; and he wastes his years in empty living.

Eccl. 2:1

A lot of a Christian’s suffering can be avoided, however, and God has provided many remedies for reducing the distress a person causes himself.

You can avoid suffering caused by divine discipline.

Heb. 12:1-15

Psalm 38

Chastisement is avoided by staying in fellowship, confessing sin, forsaking sin, laying aside every weight…that is, choosing to obey God.

You can avoid suffering from failure to isolate sin, resulting in “chain sinning”. An example is the failure to forgive an offense. This leads to mental attitude sins such as anger, bitterness, desire for revenge, judging. These, in turn, lead to sins of the tongue, maligning, gossip, false accusations. The offended party suffers worse than the original offender. But the whole chain can be broken by forgiving the other party and confessing the sins in the chain.

You can avoid suffering due to a guilt reaction to sin; the maintaining of a guilt complex. Remember that Christ died for all our sins; He bore the guilt for us. (1 Pet. 3:18; 2:24; 2 Cor. 5:21). One may have confessed sin biblically and be in fellowship and still labor under a heavy load of guilt. But this is unbelief. A guilt complex itself is sinful, because one says by this that the Lord has not forgiven. But, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgression from us.”

You can avoid suffering which comes from maintaining a lifestyle like the unsaved. This is a life of callousness in the soul, emptiness, blindness, as shown in Eph. 4:17–32. The cure – Bible teaching every day while maintaining fellowship with God.

You can avoid suffering due to the rejection of authority, such as parental authority, school authority, civil authority, military authority, etc.

READ Judges 19 and 10, Matt. 7:29 to 8:13, Jer. 7, and Prov. 30

You can avoid suffering caused by making decisions outside of the plan of God.

  • Don’t follow a career that takes you away from the Word.
  • Don’t reject divine principles of marriage (marrying an unbeliever, getting a divorce, etc.)
  • Don’t follow any “greener pastures” leading or make changes in your circumstances because you think you will be happier in the new situation.
  • Don’t raise children by human viewpoint instead of doing it God’s way.
  • In general, don’t reject the Word of God, either through neglect or willful disobedience.

You can avoid suffering from failure to have your armor on.

Eph. 6.

The Believer’s Undeserved Suffering is Intended for Blessing

The following is a list of reasons why believers in fellowship suffer undeservedly in order to bring blessing to themselves or others.

  1. Suffering for the glory of God: Book of Job; Isa. 48:9–11
  2. Suffering to comfort others: 2 Cor. 1:3–6
  3. Suffering to demonstrate the power of God, the provisions of grace: 2 Cor. 12:8–10
  4. Suffering from spiritual growing pains; the testing that strengthens faith: Deut. 8:1–10; James 1:1–6; 1 Pet. 1:7,8; Rom. 5:3Faster growth means more frequent testing; there is a refining process: Job. 23:10; Isa. 1:18–27; 1 Pet. 1:7
  5. Suffering to keep down pride: 2 Cor. 12:6,7; Matt. 26:31–75 (the scattering of the disciples)
  6. Suffering to illustrate doctrine (for advanced believers: Book of Hosea
  7. Suffering by association occurs when we have some relationship with someone who is suffering: Rom. 14:7; 1 Cor. 12:26; 1 Chron. 21
  8. Suffering to show the fruit of the Spirit and the results of edification: 2 Cor. 4:6–11
  9. Suffering to learn the value of doctrine: Psalm 119:65-72
  10. Suffering as a witness to Christ: 2 Tim. 2:8–12; John 15:18-21; Acts 5:40-42; 1 Cor. 4:9–16
  11. Suffering as a result of exercising a spiritual gift; illustrated by the life of the Apostle Paul
  12. Suffering from involvement in spiritual battles, the angelic conflict: Eph. 3:8–13

Promises to Believers Who Suffer

Psalm 34:19,20; Isa. 43:2; 2 Cor. 4:17 and 12:9; 1 Peter 5:10

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The Importance Of Doctrine

A Christian’s desire for the Truth, the Word of God, must be avid. A believer must give the highest priority in his life to learning Bible facts and principles. There are many examples in the Bible of the great effort made by people of God to obtain truth.

John 14:6 “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me.

Matt. 6:28-34

Psalm 119:72The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.”

Psalm 119:127, 162.

Prov. 23:23Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction and understanding.

Psalm 86:11 Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth; unite my heart to fear thy name.”

Examples of Eagerness for Truth

Temple worshipers in the time of Christ: Luke 21:37,38

Samaritans: John 4:39-42

Cornelius: Acts 10:30-33

Bereans: Acts 17:10-13

Col. 1:9-13, 21-23; 2:1-8

Eph. 1:17-23; 3:14-19; 4:11-16

Reasons Why Bible Teaching is Important

The Bible is the only source of knowledge of how to know and love the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no such thing as “love at first sight” in spiritual things. The believer must get to know Christ very well, and this requires the daily intake of knowledge about Christ through the Word of God, which is “the mind of Christ.”

I Cor. 2:16 “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”

Phil. 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his suffering, being made conformable unto his death.

John 14:23 “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loves me not keeps not my sayings; and the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.”

Daily Bible study leads to occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ, a daily walk with the Saviour.

Heb. 12:2,3 “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 you be wearied and faint in your minds.”

Bible doctrine, learned under the faith principle of applied teaching, produces confidence during the believer’s lifetime.

2 Cor. 5:6-8 “Therefore, we are always confident, knowing that, while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, and not by sight). We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

See also Job 5:24-27

The Bible is the only source of God’s viewpoint.

Isaiah 55:7-9 “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Bible doctrine is the basis for orientation to God’s plan during the believer’s lifetime.

Isaiah 26:3,4 “The one who is steadfast of mind thou wilt keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in thee. Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting rock.”

Bible knowledge produces sanity and stability of mind. It is very important to get the Word of God into the mind before the times of pressure come. It is not too likely that an unstable person will respond to the Word of God. God’s deals with the pressures of life using “preventive maintenance”.

James 1:8 “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

Bible doctrine is the basis for divine guidance.

Romans 12:1,2 “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Without the Word of God, the believer’s mind will be corrupted by Satan and will become a repository of world-viewpoint and false teaching.

2 Cor. 11:3 “But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”

Eph. 4:17-25

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Authority, God’s Chain of Command


Authority is defined as the power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior. Persons in command.

The most important earthly influence in a person’s life is that which comes from his relationship with his parents. The newborn child enters life completely dependent upon, and completely subservient to, an all powerful authority, his mother and father. As a child grows, he adjusts continuously in his responses to that parental authority, for better or for worse depending on the training he receives. He also gradually becomes aware of other influences of authority in society; those of his schools, of the various levels of government and law enforcement, of the people for whom he works, of his church, and of the authority of God Himself.

As an adult, a person often has two roles simultaneously. He is not only subject to authority of various kinds all of his lifetime, but he may also himself be in a position of power and influence over others, perhaps as parent, military officer, executive, or judge. A person’s ability to respond properly to authority, and his ability to exercise authority, depend on his orientation to divine principles of authority categorized in the Bible. As least three things are necessary to the proper response to authority. They are:

  • Careful training by parents in correct standards of submission to authority
  • A consistent daily walk with the Lord
  • An ever growing categorical knowledge of Biblical principles of authority accompanied by personal acceptance of the teaching leading to personal application in the life.

When any of these factors is missing, a person will accept non Biblical, humanistic principles of leadership, or the response to leadership, with the usually bad results that derive from a poor understanding of scriptural standards.

This paper explores the subject of authority in several ways. First we examine the source of all spiritual and temporal authority, God the creator. The Bible is the textbook for the study. God has delegated authority to His Son, Jesus Christ, who, in turn, has passed certain leadership responsibilities to human beings, the apostles. The apostles retained this mantle of authority as they were given the divine enabling to write the word of God for believers to read and understand.

The next consideration in this discussion is the Biblical teaching on a variety of types of authority, including parental, governmental, and ecclesiastical authority. Finally, the paper will describe some ways in which children and young people can be trained in Biblical principles of authority and in the proper responses to and uses of leadership. There will be a few paragraphs in the final section about chain of command which is intended to show believers the mechanics of a proper relationship to both divine and human authority.

The Source of Authority in Christianity

In all Christian activity some form of authority is exercised, either the authority of one individual over others, or the authority of an organization over individuals. The administration of leadership takes on so many varied forms that believers often become confused as to what constitutes legitimate Biblical authority. Some Christians in positions of leadership exercise Biblical principles of authority, others use human standards mixed with divine principles. Any Christian leader who is not well versed in the Biblical doctrines relating to authority is likely to use a combination of proper and improper authority.

All correct authority in Christian activity must derive from the Christian system itself: that is, a Christian leader must find his credentials of leadership in the word of God. Authority is of two kinds, primary and delegated authority.

Primary authority grows out of the relationship of those who have the right to command and those whose duty it is to obey. The basis of all primary authority in Christianity is the person of God. We are His; He made us. We are the creatures of His hand and the product of His intelligence. He is our maker, preserver and benefactor. He, therefore, has the absolute right to command; and it is our absolute duty to obey Him. God has seen fit only occasionally to govern man by His personal and primary authority. He usually delegates authority to others. He rules by His representatives.

Delegated authority is a right to command and enforce obedience which can be given to another by the party holding primary authority.

God’s Primary Authority Was Delegated to the Lord Jesus Christ

The first delegation of authority in Christianity was from God the Father to God the Son. Hebrews 1:1-2a, “God, who gave to our forefathers many different glimpses of the truth in the words of the prophets, has now, at the end of the present age, given us the truth in the Son.” Jesus said, “The word which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s Who sent me.” (John 12:49) “No man knows who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him.” (John 14:6) Jesus closes His ministry on earth, and leads off His great commission to the apostles with the statement, “All power is given unto me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18)

The Son stands nearest the Father in delegated authority. He is the “brightness of the Father’s glory and the express image of His person.” (Hebrews 1:3) “It has pleased the Father than in Him should all fullness dwell.” (Colossians 1:19) When the Father acknowledged Christ after His baptism, He said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) Christ was not only the delegate of God on earth, he is also the “image of the invisible God,” (Colossians 1:15) and He said to His doubting disciples, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” (John 14:9)

There are several important inferences to be drawn from the concept of the authority of Jesus Christ. First, Jesus Christ is a manifestation of the power of God. Whether His power is seen in the material world or in the spiritual, our attention is arrested and our interest is challenged. God’s power is part of life itself. It is the agency through which God’s mind controls matter. It is the hand by which God’s purpose takes form in the world.

There is a difference between power and force. Force startles and frightens us. Power, when directed by intelligent love, is always pleasing to us. There is force in a lightning bolt. It shatters the sky, can kill living beings, cleaves a tree in half, or burns a building to the ground. There is power when an intelligent mind uses electricity to drive a train or light a city. Jesus Christ, who is God himself, is a manifestation of the power of God, not of the force of God.

Authority Passes to the Apostles

The Transfer of Authority to the Apostles

As long as Jesus was on earth, He talked with men face to face. Men were directly under His command, and could claim His promises directly. But He has passed away from earth and does not rule anymore by His own direct authority. Just as the Father delegated His authority to the Son, so Jesus delegated His authority to the apostles.

In John 17 are the following statements:

  • God gave the Son power over all flesh.
  • This power was given that He might bestow eternal life on all men.
  • Eternal life is bestowed through the knowledge of the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.
  • God gave the Son certain men out of the world, that He might teach them all that God had given him.
  • All men should believe on Christ through the word of the disciples.

In the transfer of authority from God the Father to the Son there was no danger of error or mistake. The Son, being divine, could receive without misunderstanding all that the Father communicated. But the apostles were human with all the weaknesses and imperfections of their humanity. There was danger, therefore, that they might not correctly understand or apprehend the communication which Christ made to them.

It became necessary, therefore, for some power or influence to be exerted on their minds to preserve them from error either in taking in or in giving out the lessons which they received. Therefore, Christ promised them the Holy Spirit, who was to guide them into all truth in the conveying of the gospel to the world.

1 Cor. 2:9-13, “Eye has not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 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 in words which the Holy Spirit teaches.

The Apostles’ Use of Delegated Authority

The Spirit guided apostles are the representatives of God on earth for the purpose of making known His will to the sons of men. Their teaching is Christ’s teaching. Their authority is the authority of the Lord. “As the Father has sent me, so send I you.” (John 20:21) So, when the apostles completed the revelation of the will of God in Jesus Christ, that revelation became the perfect law of liberty to which nothing could rightfully be added or taken away.

Anyone who teaches men to disobey the plain commandments of the apostles cannot be guided by the same Holy Spirit that inspired them to proclaim these commandments. The same Holy Spirit which led an apostle to proclaim truth will not lead anyone else to ignore or to disobey that truth.

Any attempt to add to, or subtract from, the words of the apostles, or to substitute other teaching in the place of their teaching, is not of God. Satan had no opportunity to corrupt the truth as it proceeded from the Father to the Son, or from the Son to the apostles. But his opportunity arrived when the apostles began proclaiming the gospel to mankind as they preached. “Those by the wayside are they that hear; then cometh the devil and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.” (Luke 8:12)

The Apostles’ Exercise of Judgment

The apostles are administering the authority of God even today, through the written word of God which they wrote under divine inspiration. They began administering that authority on the Day of Pentecost. Their first judgment was, “These men are not drunk as you suppose, but this is that spoken of by the prophet Joel…” (Acts 2:15-16) The world’s judgment, that “these men are full of new wine”, was wrong; the apostles’ judgment was correct.

The apostles’ second judgment was, “This same Jesus whom ye have taken with wicked hand and slain, God has raised up and made both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:23-24) Their third judgment was concerning convicted sinners, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto remission of sins.” (Acts 2:38)

Thus, in all their sermons and writings they delivered judgments for spiritual Israel which stand as authoritative today as when first delivered. There is nothing that is essential to the well being of Christian believers that has not been a subject for the apostles’ judgment. They are ambassadors of Christ. God acted through them and they represent Christ. “As though God did beseech you by us, we pray in Christ’s place, be ye reconciled to God.” (2 Cor. 5:20)

Practical Considerations Related to Apostolic Authority

In Dr. G. A. Jacob’s book, Ecclesiastical Polity of the New Testament, there are quotations worth repeating. This book is worth thoughtful reading, and it shows the trend among some modern Christian thinkers to get back to the principles of the apostles. From the book:

The church of the apostolic period is the only church in which there is found an authority justly claiming the acknowledgment of Christian bodies in other times. Such authority is found in this church, not because it possessed a truer catholicity, or a purer constitution, or a more primitive antiquity than belong to succeeding ages, for neither antiquity, purity of form, or catholicity confers any right to govern or command; but because it was under the immediate rule and guidance of the apostles. It is their infallible judgment alone, as exhibited in this church, which has a legitimate claim to our submission. Of the church of no other period can the same be said, because the apostles had no successors to their office. They stand alone as the divinely inspired teachers, legislators, and rulers in Christ’s church and kingdom. They stand alone as men appointed and commissioned by Christ Himself, and not by man.

I appeal, therefore, from the Nicene Fathers to the apostles of Christ; from patristic literature to the New Testament; from ecclesiastical authority and practice of post apostolic centuries to the primitive church of the apostolic age. To go back to that time, and to endeavor, as far as possible, to reproduce the church of the New Testament, is most needful for us now, if we would preserve a faithful and distinct knowledge of Christian truth among our people. By realizing, as far as we may, the ideal of that church in our own community, we shall best maintain its liberty and purity, and we shall best meet the peculiar dangers of the present time and prepare for the future.

From the Apostles to Us – Lines of Authority

In the previous section, the transmission of divine authority to human beings is marked out in three phases: (1) God delegated all authority on earth to the Son, Jesus Christ; (2) the Son delegated teaching authority to the apostles; and (3) the apostles wrote authoritatively concerning the uses of and submission to authority on the part of believers of the church age.

Thus, every standard for the administration of authority over human beings by other people is derived from the teachings of the apostles as recorded in the Bible. The apostles wrote with the delegated power of God and were divinely inspired and controlled by the Holy Spirit of God, we are obliged to give absolute obedience to instructions from the Bible.

Three types of delegated authority are described in this section: (1) authority in human society; (2) ecclesiastical (local church) authority; and (3) parental authority. By careful study of the scripture passages related to these topics, a believer should be able to gain a great deal of discernment into the problems of proper response to authority.

Authority in Human Society

The teachings of the Bible indicate that established civil authority is to be obeyed explicitly except where such obedience would cause the believer to deviate from direct Bible teaching. That is to say, God does not delegate any authority that would allow someone to overrule His expressed commands or to compromise a divine principle. The statement of Christ, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21) bears out this principle.

Bible References to Specific Types of Authority

  • The authority of the rulers of federal, state, and local government: Rom. 12; 1 Tim. 2.
  • The authority of a judge on the bench: 1 Cor. 6:1-8.
  • The authority of a business owner or executive: Col. 3; Eph. 5; 1 Tim. 6.
  • The authority of an athletic coach: 1 Cor. 9:24-27.
  • The authority of the military chain of command: Matt. 8:8-10.

See the following passages also for references to the concept of authority in many areas of human society:

Matt. 22:19-21; 17:25‑27

1 Pet. 2:13-18

1 Cor. 7:21-24

Eph. 6:5-9

1 Tim. 6:1, 2

Deut. 17:12, 13

Rom. 13:1-7.

Christian Life Principles Related to Authority

Submission to authority means doing the unpleasant thing as well as the pleasant. Therefore, there is a need for self discipline. Gal. 5:23 and 2 Thess. 3:8-15 point out that self control is a result of Christian growth. The entire book of Proverbs deals extensively with this issue. The believer can expect that as he grows in Christ his desire to be submissive to the Lord will grow, as will his ability to be a faithful servant.

A correct understanding of the concept of authority will cause a believer to gain respect for the privacy of others. He will learn that certain aspects of other people’s lives do not fall under his jurisdiction. So he will be much less inclined to invade privacy, judge, malign, gossip, etc .

The correct use of Biblical principles of authority also develops in the believer a respect for other people’s personal property. There are many passages in the Bible about stealing, covetousness, and the protection of property. Spiritual growth involves an acceptance of these principles as the believer better understands authority.

Respect for the rights of others to function in their own place under God’s plan is a basic principle of authority. Other people have the right to make decisions without interference. Mature believers do not judge others, to not bully others into conforming, do not attempt to exercise authority which has not been delegated to them. “…to his own master he stands or falls…” (Romans 14:4)

Ecclesiastical Authority

Scripture references to local church authority are found in Titus 1:5-16; 2:15–3:2; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Matt. 16:16-19; 18:18, 19.

Spiritual leaders are not elected, hired or appointed. They emerge. As the child of God experiences the development of his spiritual gifts, these gifts are recognized by others in the body of Christ. He will be given a place in which to exercise his gifts.

In Acts 6:1-7, for example, it can be seen that the first deacons were recognized as spiritually minded and filled with the Holy Spirit. These attributes of personal character, the results of years of growth as believers, were evident in these men’s lives. They emerged as leaders. The vote taken was merely an agreement that the majority of the local body recognized the mature lives of these men. There may have been others who coveted places of leadership. But such others were not recognized. The chosen deacons were selected to serve, not to be served. Nevertheless, in serving they did great works.

In becoming part of a local church, a Christian tacitly approves of the leadership structure of that church. By remaining with that congregation, he signifies that he accepts the pastoral teaching authority and the leadership of others in authority. The Bible commands submission to local church authority.

1 Peter 5:5, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble.

To submit means to recognize the chain of command and to refrain from undermining that authority. This is a command to all believers; and nearly all trouble in local churches comes from the violation of this principle. The troublemakers in a church are those who undermine authority by criticism, by conspiracies or by other methods. It is the duty of the pastor teacher to guard against this and to nip it in the bud. The early Christians willingly placed themselves under the leadership of the pastor and deacons because they were known to be ordained of God and that one could profit from their guidance and leadership.

Parental Authority – Chain of Command

Case Study No. 1

A twenty-one year old girl returned home with an engagement ring and her boy friend in tow. After meeting and conversing with the young man, the parents told their daughter in private that they did not approve of her marrying this person at this time and that she should wait for a year or two. They stated their belief the marriage will not work and this fellow is not for you. The daughter argued that she felt that the Lord had brought they two of them together and that since they were both Christians it would be all right to marry right away.

What would be the correct answer in counseling with this young woman? Should she:

  1. Go ahead with her marriage plans if she thinks it is the Lord’s will for her, or
  2. Follow her parents’ wishes and wait until they give approval?

Case Study No. 2

An eighteen year old Christian young man announced to his unsaved father that the Lord had called him into the ministry and that he was thinking of going to Bible school to prepare for the pastorate. The father was strictly against such a move, and he advised his son to enter university instead, to prepare for a vocation. He told his son that he should have a profession to fall back on in case he should fail in the ministry. He wanted his son to get his college degree first; then, if he still wanted to be a pastor, he could pursue that career.

What advice should be given to the son in this case? Should he:

  1. Follow his father’s wishes and enter the university, or
  2. Follow his own desires and go to bible school?

Case Study No. 3

A teenage girl wanted to attend a certain Bible teaching church, but her mother refused to allow this. So the girl began to attend secretly as often as she could. Her mother found out and was very angry. She told her daughter that she should be at home attending to her chores around the house instead of spending so much time with those kids.

Should the teenage girl:

  1. Continue to attend Bible sessions secretly in order to get good teaching, or
  2. obey her mother’s wishes?

The answer in all three cases above is: respect the parent’s wishes! The following section describes the reasons for this answer.

The Biblical Basis for a Child’s Absolute Submission

The following commands from scripture indicate the extent to which God has committed Himself to working with children through their parents. Notice the spiritual condition and personality of the parent are not listed as conditions to obedience of these commands.

Eph. 6:1-3, “The right thing for you to do is to obey your parents as those whom the Lord has set over you. Honor your father and mother … that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.

Col. 3:20, “Obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.”

Prov. 6:20-23, “My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother; bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou wakest, it shall talk with thee; for the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; the reproofs of instruction are the way of life.”

The Focus of Response is the Lord, not the Parent

Part of God’s purpose for placing parents in authority is to teach obedience to Himself. God is able to accomplish His purposes in our lives through those He places in authority over us, regardless of whether they are good leaders.

The Lord has beautiful and significant plans for those who love and respect Him (Mal. 3:16, 17). We will be His jewels; we will be treated as the sons of God. When a young person reacts against the tools of authority that God has place in his life, he is reacting against God Himself. Severe warnings are given in the Bible about this.

Prov. 30:17, “The eye that mocketh at his father and despises to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.

Heb. 12:5-6, “. . . My son, regard not lightly the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art reproved of him: for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Essential Insights in Identifying God as the Source of Authority

In order to properly identify the hand of God in the authority which is exercised over us, several insights are necessary.

We must learn to differentiate between position and personality. One of the first objections to obeying authority is, “I can not respect the one I am supposed to obey.” But it is possible to respect a person’s position of authority while at the same time being aware of character deficiencies which need correction.

A teenager might way, “Why should I listen to my parents? They tell me not to do certain things, but they go out and do the same things themselves!” But this young person fails to distinguish between his parents’ position and their character. The young man would be quick to see the error of his line of reasoning if his friend stated, “They other day I got stopped for speeding, but the policeman has such a bad personality that I tore up the ticket.”

Some say, “My parents do not even try to understand me, so why should I listen to them?” Here again, there is a failure to distinguish between position and personality. It is more important that the young person understand what God is trying to accomplish than that his parents understand him. God knows that those He places in authority will have character deficiencies? But He is able to work in spite of these deficiencies.

Psalm 76:10, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee; . . .

Prov. 16:7, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

See also 1 Peter 2:18-20.

God can develop mature attitudes through His use of authority. He can use those who are the hardest to get along with to motivate us to develop mature attitudes. In each of the three case studies which are described above, the parent in authority detected an immature attitude on the part of the young person.

In Case Study No. 1, the marriage was disapproved because the parents detected underlying attitudes in both their daughter and her fiancé which would have made them incompatible in marriage. Each has a negative attitude of self will. Each expected to be the center of the stage. Neither had learned submission to authority. They had no concept of deference to one another or regard for the wishes of the other. Proper attitudes could be learned by the young people, if they would follow the advice to wait.

In Case Study No. 2, the father detected in his son attitudes of ungratefulness, stubbornness and insensitivity to the feelings of others. Even though he was not a believer, the father realized that these attitudes would cause his son to fail in the ministry. The fact that his father had some apprehension of his son’s failure in the ministry should have been a significant warning to the son that he might be wrong.

In Case Study No. 3, the teenaged girl, by responding properly to her mother would allow her mother to see that her old attitudes had changed as a result of attending the church, and she would be advancing the most powerful argument for her mother to allow her to continue attending the church.

God’s concern is that our attitudes become consistent with those of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus was subject to the authority of His parents asHe was growing up. Because of this response, He grew in wisdom, stature,and in favor with God and man. He “humbled himself and became obedient…” (Phil. 2:8)

Discerning Basic Intentions

The basic intentions of those in authority must be discerned. Daniel “purposed that he would not defile himself with the king’s meat.” (Daniel 1:8) Yet the authorities were not trying to make him violate his convictions; they were genuinely concerned about his appearance before the king. Daniel was in the right frame of mind to help the officer in charge work out a compromise.

In Case Study No. 1, the basic intentions of the parents who disapproved their daughter’s marriage were not to restrict her happiness but rather to help her achieve a lasting happiness. They intended to pass on to her the insights and lessons which they had learned, sometimes the hard way. They intended for her to avoid a lot of future complications which they knew would occur if she made the wrong choice in marriage. They intended to derive pleasure and joy from their daughter’s happy marriage.

In Case Study No. 2, the basic intention of the father for the son was not to talk him out of the ministry but to provide him with the tools for being successful in life. He intended to use the boy’s college education to build mature attitudes in his son. He wanted to be proud of his son’s achievements. He intended to rest in the fact that his son was building security in his vocation. He intended that his son be grateful and appreciative for what he had done for him. He intended to keep a channel of communication open so that his son would be responsive in the future.

In Case Study No. 3, the basic intentions of the teenage girl’s mother were not to stop the girl from going to church, but to develop obedience toward her parents. This obedience involved assuming responsibilities around the house rather than running off all the time. The mother observed that some of her daughter’s friends were not obeying their parents and often condemned their parents for not being spiritual. She did not want her daughter to develop these attitudes and practices.

Developing Creative Alternatives

Creative alternatives can be developed. Mature attitudes, along with insight into basic intentions, prepare the way for the development of creative alternatives or compromises. Daniel worked out an alternative which would not violate his moral convictions. As you read the study in the book of Daniel, notice the respect, the creativity and the careful choice of wording in Daniel’s request. He asked to be given a chance to show he was right; but he expressed his willingness to obey the officer in any case.

Alternatives for the girl who wanted to get married

  • Discuss with her parents the qualities she should look for in a husband.
  • Give her parents ample opportunity to become acquainted with the boyfriend before there was any discussion of marriage.
  • Ask her parents to point out areas where both she and her boyfriend could improve.
  • Request that her parents set up guidelines to help her discern whether she has met the right life partner.
  • Be willing to show deference to her parents on the timing of the marriage.

Alternatives for the young man who wanted to go into the ministry

  • Accept the challenge of motivating new spiritual interest in his father. This is the best preparation he could have for the ministry since this is one of the most important functions of the ministry.
  • Work out with his father and his minister areas of training at the university which would be useful in both the ministry and in another vocation.
  • Develop a personal program of Bible study while at the university; and use the university experience as an opportunity for a ministry with students.

Alternatives for the teenage girl

  • Ask forgiveness for her past attitudes and actions which were wrong.
  • Commit her mother to the Lord prior to her request to attend the youth group, understanding that the Lord would be speaking through her mother.
  • Determine ahead of time that she would silently thank the Lord for whatever answer her mother gave, and continue to develop right attitudes in the home.

The Results of Obedience to Parents

It is always right to obey God, even when that obedience interrupts or disturbs our plans. Obedience to parents is one of the most essential habits for young people to learn; and parents should insist on obedience from the time their children are babies. A great deal of rebellion can be prevented by parents using Biblical principles in training their children. See Exo. 21:15-17; Lev. 20:9; Deut. 21:18-21; Matt. 15:3-6.

Divine discipline and other unpleasant results of rebellion are totally avoidable. The great inner peace, the happiness, the wonderful blessings of living the plan of God for the life are unmistakably the greatest experiences a person can have.

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The word “forgive” is a Grace word, in the English as well as in the Greek (ajfesi~). An early meaning in English was “to give or to grant”. Then, forgive came to mean “to remit a debt; to give up resentment or claim for requital; to pardon an offense.”

All of us are debtors to others, to society as a whole. And we often feel that people owe us many things in our human relationships. We feel we are owed courtesy and consideration. Sometimes we think that we are owed reward or status or promotion in some enterprise, or on the job. We are certainly owed fair treatment, justice, restitution and many other things.

But, many people in America are spiritually, ethically, and morally bankrupt. They simply cannot pay society what they owe! They are thoughtless, selfish, ungracious. What should a Christian do about all of the debts owed to him.  Answer: forgive them, as Christ forgave you.

A Christian who practices Grace thinking (divine viewpoint) will become a forgiving person. To forgive means “to give up a claim; to cease bearing resentment”.

The rich man in Luke 7 was able to forgive the two debtors because he was prosperous. He gave to them out of his prosperity. A person can only give to others out of what God has already provided in the way of prosperity. In terms of money, the principle is “Let him that stole, steal no more; rather, let him labor, doing with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” (Eph. 4:28)

As a growing Christian, you have many other kinds of prosperity, by the Grace of God. You have intellectual prosperity (divine viewpoint). You have spiritual prosperity (peace with God). You have emotional prosperity (relaxed mental attitude). You have financial prosperity (mastery of details of life). You have social prosperity (stable marriage, stable family life, etc.).

Wherever in your life you find that someone else owes you something, you have the wherewithal to forgive him! God has forgiven all of us who are absolutely without resources of our own. And He is not expecting or demanding some kind of payment in return for His Grace gifts. And we are to be channels of Grace to the world. “Out of your innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.” (context John 7:37-39)

This topic of forgiveness is part of a larger Grace Notes publication on the doctrine of Grace.

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Doctrine of Evil – A thorough study of the doctrines related to Satan’s strategy, his attempt to discredit the Lord Jesus Christ during the Church Age.il


God’s plan is that the Lord Jesus Christ be glorified during the Church Age. One important reason for this is that every human being will have an opportunity to make a decision to accept Christ as Savior. Therefore, when we say that Christ is glorified during the Church Age, we are saying that Christ is the celebrated Person of the Church Age, the focus of attention.

For this reason, one of the Holy Spirit’s main functions during the Church Age is to glorify Christ and to make Him known to all people.

John 16:13,14, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you.

It is also the responsibility of Christians to glorify Christ by their own lives; and the Holy Spirit provides the power for us to be able to do that. The believer’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and this glorification occurs on the inside of the believer.

1 Cor. 6:19,20 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

And the Church (the Body of Christ) participates in bringing glory to God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Eph. 3:20,21 “Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

But, Satan is Christ’s enemy and is completely opposed to any activity that glorifies Christ. Satan’s strategy has always been to oppose Christ at every turn and to turn human beings away from Christ whenever possible. Satan has specific strategies in his campaign against both unbelievers and Christians.

The unbeliever is made blind to gospel information by being distracted by Satan and by exercising negative volition toward the Word of God. While Satan does not force anyone to be lost, he uses every means to steer the unbeliever away from the truth. His ultimate weapons in this are religion and humanism. He tries to promote the glorification and deification of mankind while downgrading the Lord Jesus Christ.

Satan doesn’t give up when a person accepts Christ as Savior. He has a strategy regarding believers which is very subtle and far-reaching. Satan accuses believers before God. The sins of the Christian are observed by the fallen angels and reported. Satan tries to keep the believer from the Word of God. He encourages Christians to ignore the Word and accept false teaching so that they will revert to their former manner of life.

In short, Satan does everything possible to keep people from being saved; or, if a person does get saved, Satan tries to keep that person from being effective in the Christian life.

Satan’s total plan, or strategy, is known as Evil. In the Bible, “Evil” is the technical term used for Satan’s world strategy. As such, “Evil” is an objective term and has specific meaning and implication. The word “Evil” is capitalized in this paper to show that it is the title of Satan’s plan.

Definition of Evil

1 Thess. 5:22, “Abstain from every form of Evil.

To obey this command it is necessary to learn what Evil is and what forms it takes…

The word “Evil” has a distinct technical and categorical meaning in the Word of God. It is not simply a generic word referring to anything that is bad or sinful.

The word “Evil” refers specifically to the policy of Satan as the ruler of this world. Evil is the modus operandi of Satan from the time of his fall throughout the angelic revolution and down to the point when be became the ruler of the world.

Satan is directly opposed to anything involving the Lord Jesus Christ. Satan’s is devoted to distorting or obscuring any truth related to Christ.

2 Cor. 4:3,4 “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Evil is Satan’s system by which he administers the rulership of this world. He uses his world rulership to try to bring about the downfall of Jesus Christ. Failing that, Satan tries to turn as many people away from Christ as possible.

Through Evil, Satan brings about two major consequences on earth: sin and human good (the motivation of Evil), both of which are based on errors in thinking. The sin of self-righteousness combined with human good or sincerity produces a saturation of Evil in a nation.

One of the main reasons for learning about Evil from the Bible is to learn that man cannot solve his problems by human solutions. Any effective solution to a human problem is a divine solution. And there is an answer in the Bible for every human need or problem.

Anything that is outside of the plan of God is part of Satan’s strategy of Evil. Therefore, any person who is consistently involved in the cosmic (Satanic) system is directly involved with Evil.

Evil results in the destruction of society, the malfunction of society. Evil causes the removal of legitimate authority and its function under the laws of divine establishment. Just as grace and doctrine represent the genius of God in relationship to the human race, so Evil represents the genius of Satan in relationship to the human race.

Therefore, what you and how you think is very important.

There are two ways of thinking:

  1. Divine viewpoint is thinking doctrine, which glorifies Christ.
  2. Human viewpoint is thinking Evil, which dishonors Christ.

Therefore, the issue is thought vs thought.

Evil attempts to produce a human good panacea which is expected to solve the problems of life apart from doctrine and divine establishment. So, Evil is often a distortion of doctrine or a distortion of the laws of divine establishment. Satan’s original sin was a distortion of doctrine.

Evil comes in many forms:

  • Altruistic humanitarianism
  • Philanthropy
  • Religion
  • Legalism
  • Reversionism
  • Socialism
  • Political internationalism
  • Government interference
  • Distortion of the law
  • Bribery in government
  • Reducing the military
  • Sociology
  • Public welfare

Evil produces the erroneous concept of “brotherly love.” The whole idea of government trying to abolish sickness, mental illness, economic problems, frustrations, and human problems by legislation and human solutions is Evil.

The world’s problems can never be solved apart from Bible doctrine and the laws of divine establishment.

Evil also includes:

  • Social action
  • Restriction of human freedom for the greater good
  • Distortion of law to solve social and economic problems
  • Interference of government in business and free enterprise
  • Government quotas

Satan: The Originator of Evil

Evil originated and existed before human history. The means by which it was transmitted from previous creature existence to human history is Satan himself.

The origin of Evil is Satan’s genius to devise a system to oppose God.

Evil originated in angelic creation in the greatest creature to ever come from the hand of God.

Satan controls most of Christianity through his cosmic system. The thing that makes people function in the cosmic system is arrogance.

Satan’s plan is related to beating Christ to the Millennium with his own attempt to produce a perfect world. The more the world follows his plan, the greater the degeneracy which occurs.

Satan’s plans always look good to the stupid, but it always results in degeneracy.

Refer to L. S. Chafer, “Systematic Theology, Vol. 2″, pp. 100-101, 108-111.

1 John 3:8, “When anyone commits a sin, he has become the agent of the devil.

  • The sin nature is usually the source of temptation; volition is the source of sin.
  • Your decision to sin puts you immediately into the cosmic system, making you the agent of Satan.
  • The works of the devil can only be destroyed by functioning inside the plan of God. We are the products of our own decisions; therefore, we bring disaster on ourselves.

Biblical Conclusions About Evil

  • The mature believer should be able to distinguish between sin and Evil.

Heb 5:13-14 “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and Evil.

  • Motivating Evil exists in the thought pattern of the soul. Evil and degeneracy start with a thought. It takes lots of doctrine to reject Evil. The Christian walk is the only real protection against Evil.

Matt. 6:23, “But if your eye is Evil, the entire body is full of darkness [cosmic involvement].

Matt. 15:19, “For out of the mind come Evil thoughts.

  • “Love” refers to the spiritual love which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Personal love can think Evil, but impersonal love, a function of the royal family, cannot think Evil.

1 Cor. 13:5 “Love does not behave dishonorably, is not preoccupied with self, is not hypersensitive, does not think Evil.

  • God protects the believer who is occupied with Christ and who has positive volition to doctrine.

Prov 12:21, “No Evil happens to the righteous.

Ps 37:17 “But the Lord sustains the righteous.

Ps 91:10, “No Evil will befall you; you who love the Lord hate Evil. The Lord preserves the souls of His mature ones; He delivers them from the hands of the Evil one.

Ps 121:7, “The Lord will protect you from all Evil; He will guard your soul.

Prov 2:11-13, “The wise sees the Evil and hides himself, but the stupid goes on and is punished for it.

  • A believer who walks in the cosmic system can expect to be frustrated by Evil.

Rom 7:19, “For what I desire I do not do, but what I do not desire [Evil], this I keep practicing.

  • The believer is warned to beware of those who practice Evil, Phil 3:2. Not tavern owners and drug dealers, but the respectable …

Even legitimate things are mutilated or distorted. To beware does not necessarily mean to avoid but to understand.

  • Sincere do-gooders are the major practitioners of Evil. The more involved you are in sincere human good crusades, the more you intensify your Evil.

3 Jn 11. “Beloved, do not be imitators of the Evil but of the good.

  • Those who are under the influence of Evil always have a price.

It is a dangerous temptation to any poor believer to chase after money so as to neglect Bible doctrine. Actually, this verse applies to the love of any detail of life.

1 Tim 6:10, “The love of money is the root of all Evils.

  • Influence by Evil explains why prayers are not answered.

Job 35:12, “There they cry out, but He does not answer because of the pride of Evil men.

This explains the pattern of saying “no” to truth, building callous on the soul, intensifying arrogance into self-pity, self-righteousness, and guilt, and therefore coming to believe the lie.

  • Believers are often led into the cosmic system and Evil by their Christian friends.

1 Cor. 15:33, “Evil companions corrupt good morals.

2 Thess. 3:2-3, “That we may be delivered from perverse and Evil men, for all believers do not have doctrine; but the Lord is faithful and He will strengthen you and protect you from Evil.”

  • The attitude of the mature believer toward Evil is stated in:

Ps 84:10. “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand days in the cosmic system. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of My Lord than to dwell in the tents of Evil.”

  • Submission to the authority of establishment prevents Evil and the influence of Evil, Eccl 8:2-5.
  • The laws of divine establishment are designed to protect the citizens of the nation from Evil.

Rom 13:3-4 implies that the unbeliever can function successfully within divine establishment when he follows establishment truth. “Do you desire not to fear the authority? Therefore, keep on doing the good and you will have recognition from it. For it [government] is a minister of God to you for the purpose of good. But if you do Evil, be afraid. For he does not wear the sword for nothing.

  • By protecting against Evil, the laws of divine establishment give freedom and protection for evangelization and for the teaching of Bible doctrine. The only limitation on crime is humility and respect for authority. Micah 1:12 teaches that our failure to cope with Evil leads to destruction of the nation.

Amos 5:14-15, “Hate Evil, love good, and establish justice in the court; consequently, the Lord God of the armies will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

  • Evil is distinguished from war and disease, Jer 28:8. Sin and Evil occur in war, but war as a category is not Evil. War brings national freedom. War is not sin; it is inevitable and a necessity. Disease in itself is not sinful, though sin and Evil are associated with disease. Not all people who are sick are being disciplined by God.

The Relationship of Evil to Arrogance

  • Mental attitude arrogance is anything related to preoccupation with self to the point of sin, human good, or Evil. It is satisfaction with self and dissatisfaction with others and with God.
  • Negative volition arrogance is related to preoccupation with self and causes apathy toward doctrine. The authority of the pastor or the message of the Bible is rejected.
  • Impulsive arrogance is any abuse of authority.
  • Blind arrogance is the arrogance of legalism. In this a person is partially divorced from reality (sociopathic rather than psychotic). This includes self-righteous arrogance, in which a person fails to see in himself what he criticizes in others.
  • Arrogance toward institutions is rejection of the authority, policy, and purpose of a bona fide organization.
  • Conspiracy arrogance follows institutional arrogance and results in a conspiracy to overthrow the purpose, policy, or authority of an organization.
  • Criminal arrogance seeks to solve problems through violence. It is totally divorced from reality. It includes terrorist and revolutionary activities.
  • Crusader arrogance is the self-righteous arrogance of trying to straighten out the world. A person places his personal standards above the law or any form of establishment or authority. When criminal arrogance interlocks with crusader arrogance, there is terrorism or revolution.
  • Psychotic arrogance is total divorcement from all reality. It is a result of bad decisions, not genetics. It is intense concentration on self. It is the emotional control of reason.
  • Sexual arrogance is preoccupation with sex and self-gratification. It is preoccupation with the body to the exclusion of the soul.
  • Genetic arrogance is assuming that greatness in life is inherited. Parents who seek recognition through the achievement of their children have this type of arrogance.
  • Political arrogance is a result or companion or crusader arrogance. It tries to offer human solutions to life’s problems. Liberals and conservatives both suffer from political arrogance.
  • Client nation arrogance emphasizes the laws of divine establishment and the function of government leadership in terms of arrogance versus humility.

Client nation arrogance is the failure of our elected representatives and arrogant bureaucracy to control the government.

Client nation arrogance is the collective arrogance of a people living in Satan’s world.

Monarchy is the rule of one man in the interest of the common good. Under arrogance this becomes tyranny, i.e., the rule of one man for his own advantage.

Aristocracy is the rule of a group in the interest of the common good. This degenerates to an oligarchy, which is the rule of a group for their own benefit, as the cosmic system influences the nation.

A republic is the rule of the better part of the people in the interest of common good. But when arrogance comes, it degenerates into a democracy, which is the rule of the worst part of the people for their own benefit.

  • In authority arrogance, the individual fails to make the most difficult transition of temporal life, which is going from the authority in the home to freedom in life. The home is organized humility. The parents’ authority is enforced humility, and child’s response to enforced humility produces genuine humility. Rejection of overt authority in life results in rejection of inward authority of the soul, and that destroys a person’s self-discipline.
  • Arrogance of Ignorance. Genuine humility is necessary for the transition from authority in the home to freedom in life and from ignorance at salvation to wisdom at spiritual maturity. Genuine humility is teachability to make that transition. The arrogance of ignorance is the failure to make that transition from ignorance to cognizance in the Christian way of life.
  • In the arrogance of unhappiness, self-centeredness eliminates any capacity or possibility for happiness. Involvement in the world guarantees unhappiness and leads to erroneous ideas about what constitutes happiness. This means you expect others to make you happy. Entertainment and marriage is for people who are already happy. But with the arrogance of unhappiness, you have a martyr complex which results in trying to control people by giving them a guilt complex. This is how the weak control the strong.
  • The arrogance of morality is the self-righteous arrogance of superimposing false standards of morality on others. People major in one moral thing so they can rationalize and say they are better than everyone else in that area. This is superimposing a false standard of morality on others or taking a true standard out of its context, e.g., salvation. Morality is designed to protect human freedom.
  • The arrogance of emotion is irrationality. Arrogant people stop thinking and so their emotion becomes their substitute for thought. This is total preoccupation with self related to emotion. Knowledge is the environment for thinking. Bible doctrine is the environment for decisions. Emotional arrogance fantasizes and therefore collapses under pressure.
  • In the arrogance of pseudo-generosity, a person gives because of a desire for attention, approbation, or to buy friendship or happiness. 2 Cor. 9:7-11 teaches that the function of genuine generosity is found in the mind.
  • Arrogance of Christian service. Loss of momentum comes from rejection of doctrine and substituting Christian service for spirituality. Christian service becomes a distraction to momentum. Production is a result of growth, never the means. Perpetuation of Christian service while in the cosmic system is the arrogance of Christian service. Arrogance mistakes Christian service for growth and momentum.
  • The arrogance of discouragement is preoccupation with self under pressure and testing. Unexplained disaster tempts the believer to feel sorry for himself. Being maligned, treated unfairly, or facing the death of loved ones are the kinds of disaster or pressure that bring this on. (Matt. 26:58, 1 Kings 19:10.)
  • Arrogance of Lust. When legitimate desire is linked with arrogance, it becomes lust. Inordinate desire is lust. Desire is not wrong, but lust is. Lust is arrogant preoccupation with one’s desires.
  • Pseudo-intellectual arrogance is the superimposition of human I. Q. over spiritual IQ. Arrogance rejects divine viewpoint. It glorifies human speculation to the exclusion of Bible doctrine, or seeks to reconcile Bible doctrine with false philosophical, psychological, and scientific speculation; e.g., gnosticism.

The Results of Negative Volition to the Word of God

Negative volition to doctrine. A person resists doctrine because he is antagonistic to truth, to God, and to the things of God. He is the enemy of God’s plan. Evil, before it ever becomes a function or action, is a thought or motive. People are degenerate because of the way they think, not because of what they do. You have to be preoccupied with yourself before you can be negative to doctrine. This is characterized by antagonism toward everyone associated with the Christian life. There are three categories of negative volition:

  • Negative volition at God-consciousness. This is the point of accountability which occurs at different ages depending on the culture. God-consciousness can occur in a number of ways.
  • Teleological thinking says a structure demands a designer.
  • Cosmological thinking says the intuitive law of cause and effect demands the existence of God.
  • Ontological thinking says that since the human mind possesses the idea of a perfect Being, such a Being must exist. There must be an absolute which gives character to the relative.
  • Anthropological thinking says that man’s soul possesses both volition and conscience with an urge to choose right rather than wrong, and that the structure of society is based on the recognition of virtue and truth.
  • Theological thinking says that God must exist because men universally believe in His existence. Heathen are heathen because of negative volition at God-consciousness or Gospel hearing, Rom 1:18-25.
  • Negative volition at Gospel hearing. Rejection of Jesus Christ leaves a person outside of God’s plan: 1 Cor 1:18; 2 Cor 4:3-4; 2 Pet 2:20-22.
  • Negative volition to doctrine. The believer immediately enters this area when he rejects the communicator or the message. Emotional arrogance is a big reason for this.

2 Cor 6:11, “You are hindered by your own emotions.

The negative Christian becomes selective in what he thinks, thus rejecting anything resembling truth. Then he leans on his emotions for pleasure, thereby misusing emotion, Rom 16:17-18.

Worldly (cosmic) degeneration occurs hen a Christian becomes antagonistic to truth and enters into a state of degeneracy. Degeneracy is in the mind long before it is in actions. Rom 1:24-27 illustrates, “they who exchange the doctrine of God for a lie.

Anti-establishment activity occurs when the soul is antagonistic to the laws of divine establishment and authority. 2 Tim 3:2-3 teaches that this begins in the home with “disobedience to parents.” This is ingrained antagonism toward authority.

Rom 1:28-32 is the best illustration of anti-establishment thinking and activity.

Panaceas are Man’s attempts to improve the world and are always sponsored by Satan. Any solution sought apart from divine truth is a cosmic panacea. A cosmic panacea is an Evil (Satanic) solution which tries to keep the Lord Jesus Christ out of the picture.

The world’s panaceas reject any salvation by grace or spirituality by grace.

Instead of freedom, there is the demand for equality.

“The end always justifies the means,” is the motto of the believer participating in this. He believes in redistribution of wealth, over-taxation, legislation to solve all problems, sameness in life, big government and little people where citizens are slaves of the state, regulation of private enterprise, confiscation of private property, and utopianism.

Cosmic panaceas lead to violence, terrorism, and revolution under the principle of social engineering.

The state trains the children to be obedient to the dictates of the state rather than to parents. There is a total rejection of freedom and authority.

Religion is Satan’s counterfeit of the plan of God. Christianity is not a religion, but is a relationship with God through the person of Jesus Christ. Religion is man by man’s efforts seeking to gain the approbation of God. 2 Cor 11 describes religious leaders. 2 Tim 3:7-8, “these religious types oppose doctrine, are men of depraved mind [degenerate], disqualified from blessing with regard to doctrine” See also 2 Pet 2:1-3.

Anthropocentric (man-centered) academic speculation is motivated by pseudo-intellectual arrogance. This is the attempt to reconcile philosophical and scientific speculation with doctrine. When this can’t be done, the person rejects doctrine and seeks a substitute. The more arrogant you are, the more you are attracted to academic speculation.

Grace Versus Evil

Every generation has to choose between the grace policy of God, represented by the cross, and the Evil policy of Satan. This issue has never left the human race. The genius of God has perpetuated the issue of volition throughout human history and throughout the human race.

Therefore, the issue before the royal family is: are you influenced by doctrine or by Evil? Our parents in the Garden faced this same issue.

Grace is the means by which doctrinal principles are elucidated; Evil as Satan’s policy is the means by which false doctrine is inculcated, Prov 11:18-19, 14:22, 15:3, 16:6, 22:3, 24:1-4; Eph. 5:16; 2 Thess. 3:2-3.

These passages present some of the following principles.

  • Divine omniscience provides discipline for Evil and blessing for doctrine.
  • Thinking you are an island unto yourself is in itself Evil.
  • The ultimate result of the pursuit of Evil for the believer is the sin unto death. This is the most suffering any believer can ever endure, but he deserves every bit of it.
  • Now, just as in the beginning, when you partake of the “forbidden fruit” of Evil, you receive tremendous divine discipline. Just as what you eat from a tree becomes a part of you, so when you partake of Evil it becomes a part of you. And simply by being filled with human good and Evil, you bring on yourself a whole system of self-induced misery and divine discipline.
  • Eph 5:16 summarizes all these principles of Evil found in Proverbs. You redeem time by the filling of the Spirit and maximum doctrine in your soul, which at the same time kills off Evil.

Knowledge of the Word of God neutralizes Evil in the soul, Ps 54:5; Rom 12:21.

Once under the influence of Evil, the only possible recovery comes from learning doctrine.

Grace does not come through when you are under the influence of Evil.

It is impossible for any of God’s attributes to be Evil. He is minus all the Evil things Satan does all the time. That there is no Evil in God indicates the great dividing line in the angelic conflict

Protection from Evil

The believer in fellowship is protected from Evil.

Satan wants you to drop your guard and go negative toward doctrine, Ps. 21:11, 23:4; Prov 12:12,20,21; Gen 48:16; Gen 50:20, “They meant it for Evil, but God meant it for good.

There is no coexistence with both Evil and inner happiness. However, sin and happiness can coexist. Do you know anyone happier than David, or anyone who lived better than David? You can be happy living in your sins.

There is divine protection from Evil for the positive believer:

Ps.37:16-19, “They [positive believers] will not be ashamed in the time of Evil; in the day of depression they will still have abundance.

Ps. 91:10, 97:10, 119:101, 121:7; Prov. 2:10-14.

Prov 1:33, “He who listens to Me shall live in security, and shall be at ease without fear of Evil.”

Prov 16:6, “By occupation with the Lord, one avoids Evil.”

Prov 19:23 teaches that there is divine protection from Evil all around.

The more doctrine you have in your soul, the more you will love the Lord and the more you will hate Evil. All thoughts in life are actually fighting over your soul, Prov 3:7.

The negative believer immediately finds a great deal against which he can react, and he moves into the stages of reversion. Remember that Satan offers him a pseudo-maturity status and pseudo prosperity. Satan is capable of rewarding as the ruler of the world.

So the constant intake of doctrine is the only insulation from Evil, because doctrine goes where Evil would reside; i.e., in the mind, and there doctrine combats Evil.

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Union With Christ – Teaching related to all of the benefits and responsibilities of being “in Christ”.

At the time of his personal salvation, the Christian believer enters into a spiritual union with Jesus Christ and remains in that position forever. “Positional Truth” is the formal title for that wide class of Bible teaching on the subject of the Christian’s position in or union with Jesus Christ.

Union with Christ makes available to the believer a great number of spiritual benefits. These benefits can be used and enjoyed continuously during the believer’s remaining lifetime and will continue into eternity.

The nature of the believer’s position in Christ was foretold by the Lord Jesus Himself: (1) in the Bread of Life discourse, John 6:56; (2) in the Good Shepherd discourse, John 10:16; and (3) in the Upper Room discourse, John 14:20.

The Christian is placed spiritually in Christ through a mechanism known as the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. These mechanics are described in 1 Cor. 12:13 and Gal. 3:27,28. (A study of the seven baptisms of the Bible is a prerequisite to an understanding of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.)

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit was foretold by Christ in Acts 1:5,8. This occurred for the first time on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2:1-4 cf. 11:15,16. Therefore, Union with Christ was experienced by believers for the first time on the Day of Pentecost, making it an experience unique to Church Age believers.

Union with Christ is a fact for all believers, spiritual or carnal. 1 Cor. 1:2; cf. 1:11; 3:1–4

The believer’s position in Christ makes him a “new creature” in Christ, 2 Cor. 5:17.

The Christian is “in Christ” and has become a “new creature” in that he has a new birth, a new human spirit, and has the ability now to have fellowship with God. “Old things have passed away”, spiritual death is done away, and “all things are become new”, spiritual life is begun.

Union with Christ has several immediate results for every believer:


Titus 3:5, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

John 3:5,6, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

The Indwelling Holy Spirit

The Sealing of the Holy Spirit

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Spiritual Gifts

The following is a list of the characteristics of the believer’s Union with Christ:

  • Union with Christ is a fact, not an experience. One is united with Christ regardless of how he feels.
  • Union with Christ is not progressive; it cannot be improved upon; we receive it completely at salvation.
  • Union with Christ is not commanded by God; it is given as a gift by God at salvation.
  • This Union is permanent; it will never be taken away; it does not depend upon our faithfulness; it depends on the faithfulness of God.
  • This doctrine can be understood only with a thorough study of the related Bible passages.

Union with the Lord Jesus Christ is a guarantee of eternal security, Rom. 8:35–39; 1 John 5:11,12; Rom. 8:1.

Union with Christ is current in that the believer is identified with Christ in His life and shares with Christ in certain aspects of His life, Eph. 3:1-14.

Union with Christ makes every believer equal at the point of salvation, Gal. 3:27,28.

Union with Christ makes the believer perfect in the sight of God, Col. 2:9,10.

Bible illustrations of Union with Christ:

Union with Christ is the doctrinal basis for spirituality, Rom. 6:1-14.

Union with Christ is the basis for the spiritual technique of occupation with Christ, Col. 3:1-4.

Union with Christ is illustrated and testified to by water baptism. The believer is identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.

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Hope – The Christian’s confidence is much more than just wishful thinking

Hope is the mental attitude of confidence that results from learning and applying Bible truth regarding the future.

In Bible usage, “hope” (Greek: ελπις) is synonymous with “confidence” or “expectation of a good outcome.” Growth in confidence comes along with growth in Christ. Applied knowledge of Bible principles of time and eternity leads to supreme confidence in God’s word.

The Christian has confidence in

See also 1 Th. 4:16-18; (verse context does not seem to fit.) and 1 John 3:1,2.

The hope of Israel is in their coming Messiah (the second coming of Christ), His kingdom on earth, and the new earth of eternity.

Luke 1:67-79; 2:28-32; Acts 26:6,7; 28:20; Eph. 2:12.

The Abrahamic Covenant (amplified by the Palestinian, Davidic, and New Covenants) promised to Israel the land of Canaan, the eternal seed (the Messiah), and blessing (new birth). Israel’s hope lies in these promises of God.

Abraham’s hope was directed to the promise of a new city, the new Jerusalem, Heb. 11:9,10.

The hope for the church is the blessed hope of the rapture. Titus 2:13-15; 1 John 3:2,3; 1 Thess. 4:13-18

Hope is derived from such passages as (this verse does not fit this context). which it is stated that there will be no more death, tears, pain, etc.

The hope or confidence we have in Christ has caused death to lose its sting and the grave to lose its victory. 1 Cor. 15:54-58.

The word hopeless should never be in the Christian’s vocabulary

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