Our Comfort in Hope (The Longer Version)

 Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

There are hundreds of promises written in the Bible, and these are available to those who know they exist, obtainable to those who have found them, and they are most certainly reachable for those who will believe to receive them. In II Peter 1:4, we read that God has “given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature,” and these promises are given to believers in order that we may partake in the bountifulness of God’s divine nature. Still, there are other things that the Bible reveals that are totally out of our reach, and thus even with believing we cannot receive them, such things as having our heavenly treasures now or receiving our new heavenly bodies. We cannot spend and enjoy any of our heavenly currency that we have laid up (in heaven, Matthew 6:20; Colossians 3:24) until we arrive, nor may we have our new and indestructible, eternal bodies until Christ returns, neither can we believe for Jesus to return any quicker and arrive on a timetable of our choosing.

Whenever we cannot believe for something that the Bible promises we shall receive, then the Bible tells us so by placing them in the category of HOPE, which is to be a future reality, a definite certainty, but we just cannot have them now. All of the hope that God reveals in the Bible is given to bring comfort to believers as we read in Jeremiah 29.

Jeremiah 29:11 (The Amplified Bible):* 
For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for {your} welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

I Corinthians 9:10 declares, “he that ploweth should plow in hope,” because we do not reap the harvest at the moment we have plowed, rather the produce comes in after the ground is prepared, the seeds have been planted, the soil has been watered, the weeds have been pulled, the temperature cooperates, and the sun has supplied its energy. Still, the hope was also planted on the very day of tillage in the heart of the farmer, for he has expectation for a future crop, to give him hope in his final outcome. A farmer sows and cultivates with the hope that there soon will be a bountiful harvest for him to reap while his work continues (see Romans 8:24–25, below).

Whenever it is available to receive an immediate promise from God, then the Bible tells us to have believing faith to realize that promise. But whenever we find promises in the Bible that we cannot presently have, then these are always in the category of hope, and hope is always future. Yet even hope will come to fulfillment when in the course of time we do reap, but the receiving of these are always on God’s timetable; believing is on our timetable and given to us by God at the precise moment in time that we truly believe to receive the promises in the Bible, promises that we have claimed in Jesus Christ’s name (Mark 9:23).

So then, Christians who are “only hoping” for God to bless them in the present tense rarely do receive any abundance (from God), while Christians who believe really do receive abundance (from God). Our needs are truly supplied as soon as the biblical requirement of believing is applied; thus, the descriptive term for Christians is “believers.” Jesus taught, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24). Believing is so much more satisfying than simply hoping that something might happen for our immediate needs. Believing is for now – hope is for later, believing is powerful – hope is quiescent, believing appropriates the promises of God – hope is anticipating the future promises of God, believing is something you are in control of – hope is coming in the future and in God’s hands, believing is receiving – hope comforts with upcoming expectation.

There is also a third category that I like to call “impractical beliefs or hopes.” If one was to believe or hope for a slice of cheese from out of the moon, they would not receive it because the moon is not made out of cheese. We could believe or hope for awful, bad things to happen to people who have wronged us in the past, but this is really an ineffectual use of our time and effort. James 4:3 calls this asking amiss, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss.” We would be better off not believing or hoping for things that the Bible does not promise us; for instance, believing or hoping for someone to change their mind and “fall hopelessly in love with us” because God will not tamper with someone’s free will and force them to love. But, thankfully, we can inspire someone with the love of God to want to love without crossing any of the boundaries of one’s free will.

 Romans 8:24-25 (The Amplified Bible):**
-24: For in [this] hope we were saved {this hope is referring to “the redemption of our body” Romans 8:23, which will take place at a future moment, and thus it is called hope}. But hope [the object of] which is seen is not hope. For how can one hope for what he already sees?
-25: But if we hope for what is still unseen by us, we wait for it with patience and composure.

Notice that the Text says we were saved, yet the redemption of our bodies is still to happen, but with the hope, we have a definite salvation, it is our ever present hope for a glorious future, for it is already ours. We were saved is in the past tense to assure us that the hope of salvation is always ours, and that we cannot change this eternal truth no matter what we may believe, for God gives the hope, and that hope is in His hands to give. Thank God that hope is in His power to give, for I am sure we would mess it up along the way if it were up to us. Colossians 1:5 reveals that “the hope which is laid up for you in heaven,” is ever presently waiting, but out of our reach, for the hope is laid up for us in heaven. Yet the fullness of this hope will be a wonderful future experience for all believers, and thus we are encouraged to wait for it with patience. Hope is always to receive a future of blessings for our walking with God today. We will, after the return of Christ, be given all the blessings promised, yet today we patiently wait in hope to receive, and this hope is given to us now as it is Our Comfort in Hope.

I Thessalonians 5:8 encourages us to, “let us, who are of the day {i.e., enlightened by God’s Word}, be sober {minded}, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” This helmet is our future hope of salvation, for hope encourages the mind of the believer to “take the helmet of salvation” (Ephesians 6:17) into our lives to the point that we are assured of our eternal destiny. This helmet helps to protect the mind wherein your believing emanates, for when doubts come at you about your true destiny of redemption, the helmet, your hope of salvation, is given to you to prevent those outside distractions from penetrating or disheartening your God-given hope in your future glory to ever be with the Lord (Colossians 3:4).

Is not God quite awesome to have given us promises to believe in for our immediate needs, and as well, other promises for our future that we may hope in and look forward to their fruition? And as we learn of these, our hope will continue to grow while we, with excited anticipation, look forward to these lovely things God has prepared for us.

Romans 15:13: 
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing {for our immediate needs}, that ye may abound in hope {for our future}, through the power of the Holy Ghost {holy spirit}.

Hope is not an elusive concept of speculation about our future, but something that can powerfully abound in our inner souls, for abounding hope allows the believer to enjoy this life without a doubt about their eternal destiny.

Romans 5:5: 
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost {holy spirit} which is given to us.

Where shame or doubt once lived in one’s soul, hope now can occupy that space, for where shame would have festered in one’s heart ― hope now permeates with the joy of experiencing the love of God. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed” (Philippians 1:20).

How many Christians are there who feel almost reticent or guilty just for being a believer, or embarrassed because they go to church, or ashamed for being associated with others who are of their same belief who have wrongfully abused their religion? But on the other hand, the Apostle Paul taught, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16). Hope is what invigorates the believer to stand with God and fellow believers through adversity, and to help us endure the difficult times in life, because we have been given the hope of a blissful future.

The greatest hope that the Christian has is the return of Christ to gather us up together with him in the clouds.

Having hope, especially the hope of Christ’s return and our gathering together unto him maketh not ashamed, meaning just the opposite of shame, giving us something that we can indeed be so very proud of, as hope fills the desire in our hearts to want to tell anyone who will listen that Jesus is coming back. Paul said in I Corinthians 15:19, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” The context of this verse is that if we hope in Christ and our gathering together to be with him for eternity, and if he were not to return, then we should be the most wretched people on the planet for hoping in vain. However, and thank God, our hope is that Christ indeed is returning and then we will be gathered up and blessed for all eternity. For the present time, God has given to us His own love and the permission to believe His promises to us which will help sustain our lives as we continue to believe and enjoy His healing Word that guarantees our pleasurable expectations of divine hope.

I Thessalonians 4:12-13:
-12: That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without {without hope}, and that ye may have lack of nothing {by believing}.
-13: But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

Whenever you read in the Bible that God would not have you ignorant, it is because He wants you to be knowledgeable of something. In the upcoming verses from I Thessalonians, you will learn what God would have you to understand. You see, your God desires that you have, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling” (Ephesians 1:18). The hope of his calling relates to being risen up to enjoy eternal life with your Savior. That ye sorrow not is the very reason that this section in I Thessalonians 4:12–18 is written, for we have been given a tremendous hope to ever be with the Lord.

Today we are spiritually risen with Christ (Ephesians 2:5–6), but in the future our God-given hope is to be physically changed and risen as Titus 2:13 confirms that we should be, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Looking for this blessed hope (rather than being fearful of that great and glorious day), so we may humbly thank God because we have been given such a wonderful hope for that splendid day!

 Philippians 3:20-21 (The Amplified Bible):**
-20: But we are citizens of the state (commonwealth, homeland) which is in heaven, and from it also we earnestly and patiently await [the coming of] the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) [as] Savior,
-21: Who will transform and fashion anew the body of our humiliation to conform to and be like the body of His glory and majesty, by exerting that power which enables Him even to subject everything to Himself.

See our wonderful hope in these verses? We will have our bodies completely changed, from short-term vessels to everlasting vessels that can sail through the heavenlies, and that, my friend, will be with a new, changed, glorious body! This is our assured hope.

I Thessalonians 4:14:  
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him {with Jesus}.

God in this verse is comforting the living, letting us know that the sleeping believers’ hope of the return of Christ is still true and still a future event and God has not forgotten them and He will bring them with us into heaven at the “gathering together” (II Thessalonians 2:1–2). The phrase sleep in Jesus refers to the believers who have passed away, believers who did have the hope of Christ returning for them will God bring with him up to heaven. We, the living, who also believe that Jesus died and rose again, will also be gathered up when Christ returns.

Psalms 17:15:  
As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

This is a future promise of God revealed to us by King David, a promise that many past believers had hope in; it is the promise to wake up with thy likeness, the likeness of the Savior ― this same future promise is promised to all believers who have fallen asleep.

I Thessalonians 4:15: 
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord {by revelation}, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord {Christ Jesus} shall not prevent {precede} them which are asleep.

This verse shows us the order in which believers will rise, the sleeping believers will be the first raised, and then we which are alive and remain here on earth will follow them up as the next verse will further detail. The Bible uses the word asleep for believers who have passed away, and it is an accurate translation, because Christ indeed will raise them from the dead. At that time, they will feel as though they just woke up from a good night’s sleep, only they will have new bodies that live for eternity! I Corinthians 15:42–44 sheds some tremendous light on this, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is {to be} a spiritual body.” What an amazing hope we have! “And as we have borne the image of the earthy {body}, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly {body}” (I Corinthians 15:49).

I Thessalonians 4:16: 
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first;

When Christ returns, the sleeping (passed away) believers shall rise first; this is the order which the Bible reveals to us. When Christ returns during this “gathering together,” only he himself comes down as far as the clouds above, and the believes who were once alive will be raised up and out from among all the rest of the dead to meet Christ in the clouds. This is why the angel said to the Apostles in the Book of Acts 1:11 “this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” This is what the Apostles saw “while they beheld, he {Jesus} was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9). Thus, the return of this same Jesus will be similar because believers will be gathered up in like manner to the gathering in the clouds, and from thence, it’s off to heaven ― oh, what a glorious hope we have!

Christ returning only as far as the clouds has nothing whatsoever to do with his return to earth, which will occur later. The events of his returning to earth are revealed in many Scriptures such as in Daniel, the Gospels, and Revelation. But this return should not be confused with our gathering and rising upwards, which is our expected hope. You see, Jesus’ literal return to the earth “cometh as a thief in the night” (I Thessalonians 5:2), totally unexpectedly. BUT, thankfully, we have been assured with the comfort of hope that we will be with Jesus (in heaven before II Peter 3:10 happens), and before he as the King of kings and Lord of lords returns to the earth, and that day will not “overtake you as a thief” (I Thessalonians 5:4). Thus, the day of the Lord cannot – will not – and is impossible to overtake you as a thief!

I Thessalonians 4:17: 
Then we {believers} which are alive and remain {here on earth} shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

This is the “gathering together;” this is your hope, to ever be with the Lord where everlasting reunions with families, loved ones, and friends will commence and never end. This is the hope that God in Christ has given you for your comfort, for your future goals, for at that time God will dry all your tears in the warmth and love of His divine presence. Your body will also be transformed from an earthly to a heavenly body, and from a mortal to an immortal being!

I Thessalonians 4:18: 
Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Hope is sort of like having a life insurance policy underwritten by the bank of God (offices located only in heaven), and delivered to you by God’s agent, Jesus Christ, and you, yes, only you will be doing the collecting! Oh what a glorious day for you to anticipate, the day when you gather up all the dividends you have coming, and mind you – with accumulated interest – talk about a rollover – wow – you will be rolling over with extreme joyfulness! Thus, we are encouraged to comfort one another with these words.

I John 3:1: 
BEHOLD, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

To BEHOLD is to admire, to recognize, and to fathom the actual love bestowed upon us by our heavenly Father. We are called the sons of God; this is an all-inclusive noun for all the children of God, male and female, young and old. God, being our Father, has given to us His own characteristics, namely (from the above verse) His love, of which the world has never known because the world has never really known or understood the Father. Jesus said, O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these {referring to believers} have known that thou hast sent me- John 17:25, and Jesus made known God (John 1:18) as our righteous Father, and His love He has bestowed upon us and this love we are encouraged to BEHOLD. Where is the fear? Where is the shame? Where is the doubt? Undoubtedly – not in God’s loving words to us, and truly – not in our comfort of hope, and certainly – not in our never-ending future!

I John 3:2: 
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and {in the future} it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

You and I could spend all day just considering this first word beloved, we are beloved of God, the Creator of heaven and earth! All I can say about this is, what a privilege we have been given! You see, we do not become the actual sons of God at some point in the future because Beloved, now are we the sons of God! However, in the future what it will really mean to be His sons and daughters is beyond our comprehension, thus, it doth not yet appear what we shall be. A great illustration of this can be observed from the Epistle of Romans 8:17, where it emphatically states that we are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ,” yet how can we truly grasp this awe-inspiring reality? Being heirs of everything that belongs to God is unfathomable, yet this is a part of our splendid hope; this hope is ours because we are not only heirs of God but we are also joint-heirs with Christ! God has made us heirs of heaven’s throne with every right and privilege that genuine, beloved sons and daughters deserve for their believing today.

The details have yet to be revealed on the significance of all that we truly have, but it would not hurt to look up at a night sky and at least look over some of our future inheritance. This we can know will be ours and hope for, because when Christ returns for us, then we will be just like him, “fashioned like unto his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21). For then we will clearly see him as he currently is, as we look over and enjoy our complete inheritance.

When Christ was raised from the dead, he had a new body of unimaginable splendor. He could travel the lengths of the universe in the blink of an eye, appear and disappear at will, and be recognized only when he wanted to be recognized. This is how he is! This is how we will see him when he returns. This is how we will be when he returns. What an amazing, glorious hope we have been given! This makes life go from just manageable to downright exciting ― this is given to us for our daily Comfort.

Just knowing the outcome makes it easier to not fret the small things, and the larger things easier to believe positively to overcome in today’s world. II Corinthians 4:17 says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” What this verse means is that every pressure we endure today ― called, our light affliction, is in reality minuscule in duration (is but for a moment), compared to the amount of everlasting blessings that we will receive in heaven for enduring through all the pressure of this current hour. Corinthians continues, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (II Corinthians 4:18).

Our example is Jesus who saw his ultimate destiny, which made it possible for him to endure the pressures of crucifixion. “Who {Jesus} for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising {setting aside or ignoring} the shame, and is {now} set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus’ seat at the right hand of God was his hope, was the joy that was set before him, as it is our hope. Jesus was enabled to ignore the shame of being nailed to a cross. He was perfect and sinless and always had done only good, yet he was despised, cursed, beaten, and ridiculed, and what strengthened him was hope, the helmet of salvation, for this showed him the joy that God set before him. We have been given this same amazing hope, the hope that displaces shame, as this same hope with joy is now set before us.

 I John 3:3: 
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

To become what God’s Word promises we will become ― that is our hope, and as we put our trusting hope in this, we become purified (today) as much as Christ is pure. The hope of Jesus Christ’s return purifies the hearts and souls of believers today because the hope itself is a pure hope, inspirationally uplifting. You see, we can sometimes mess up when we believe (see the third category above, “impractical beliefs or hopes”), but we cannot mess up our glorious hope, thank God.

Hope in Christ’s return for you will continue to purify you equally and proportionately to the purity of Christ himself. The hope that purifies assures the believer that he or she can presently enjoy wonderful days of hoping. The believer can know that he or she already is destined to be an elite member of God’s heavenly family (Ephesians 2:19–22), because the believer has been called by His Excellency, the Creator of the heavens and earth to be His very own child who may enjoy His love that is currently within our hearts. How many people are there out there, even in Christendom, who fear their future? But what an awesome calling and hope we have been guaranteed! As we continue anticipating the hope, our hope of Christ’s return for us, we will continuously purify our heart and mind to the pure healing Word of God ― this in truth is Our Comfort in Hope.

II Timothy 4:7–8 (The Amplified Bible):**
-7: I have fought the good (worthy, honorable, and noble) fight, I have finished the race, I have kept (firmly held) the faith.
-8: [As to what remains] henceforth there is laid up for me the [victor’s] crown of righteousness [for being right with God and doing right], which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me and recompense me on that [great] day ― and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and yearned for and welcomed His appearing (His return) {our splendid hope}.

*Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE, Old Testament copyright (c) 1965, 1989 by the Zondervan Corporation.
Used by permission.

**Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.

Our Ministry and Word of Reconciliation

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

After our salvation, do we still fall prey to temptations and are we swayed by the sin nature? Yes, all Christians will be tempted and stumble even after salvation, and it is at this point that all too many believers feel that they have lost their salvation, that their relationship with God has been totally severed, and condemnation thus begins reigning in the conscious mind. So what do we do at this point to regain our good standing with God? From the time of our salvation, onward, until Christ returns, we simply confess our mistakes or shortcomings to God in prayer to receive forgiveness. This is a major component of our God-given ministry and word of reconciliation.

I John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he {God} is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

We can say, it just cannot be that easy, but the Bible says it is because God is faithful! The word, confess means to agree in our minds that yes, we indeed have made a mistake. God allows us to honestly admit to Him personally that we have made an error. This is the way God designed our continued forgiveness. God knows that we will blow it from time to time, so He has given to us an easy way back into fellowship with Him. When we become honest within our hearts and simply say something like this: “Yes, I blew it. I am truly sorry. I will try my best to walk with You today. I am honestly thankful that You have cleansed me from any and all unrighteousness, and I thank you for this in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ.” Then our heavenly Father instantly and faithfully forgives and cleanses us from our shortcomings and again shows us that we have His righteousness to walk with Him in His divine love. The reason that our God can completely forgive us is because of what the Savior from sin has accomplished for us.

Through your continued forgiveness, you may honestly believe that you are never alone, you are not an island unto yourself, you have God in Christ in you, you are a fellow worker with God, your Savior, and with fellow believers. You will never be separated from the love of God or from the love of your Savior (Romans 8:35–39). You are a member in particular of a unified body (I Corinthians 12:27), a “whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:16). You are in Christ, and thus YOU are GOD’S BEST!

II Corinthians 5:17–18:
-17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature {creation}: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
-18: And all things {that have become new to us in Christ} are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

Jesus Christ has reconciled us to God by what he accomplished for us back in the times of the Gospel period. Now in this time of God’s divine grace that we live in and enjoy, the Epistles make known to us that God has given to us the actual ministry of reconciliation. Indeed, we may help inspire others into their own salvation, and thus show others the ministry of reconciliation they themselves can enjoy in Christ. However, this ministry is primarily given to the individual believer so we may continuously have our own reconciliation that is confirmed before our heavenly Father. When Jesus was physically here he reconciled people back to God, but today in grace we live in the completed work of Christ, enjoying our own reconciliation. This is a God-given right, and we can always walk within our reconciliation before our God.

II Corinthians 5:19:  To wit {to know}, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them {not charging their sins back to them}; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

With the word of reconciliation does not come the permission to impute sins to others; we do not condemn anyone as per instructions from God’s Word ― rather we bless and love one another with the word of reconciliation. All too often in Christian circles, we become proficient at fault-finding and being critical of the sins of others, but God in Christ did not do this ― they did not impute or condemn us, rather they forgave and loved. The Bible says in Romans 2:1, he who “judgest doeth the same thing.” We have been given the word of reconciliation to love, to encourage, to bless, and to instruct people into the ways of God’s love and forgiveness. We should be so thankful that God accepted us and that we have received the grace of God and His forgiveness, and reciprocate these blessings. This is the fountainhead of Christianity, of love, of life enjoyed with our heavenly Father. In the Old Testament we read, “O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth” (Psalms 94:1), and the New Testament also says, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19). Vengeance is never given to man to dispense ― ever, in the Bible. We repay “the kindness and love of God” to one another (see Titus 3:1–7), and Romans 13:8 says, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” We owe God’s love to one another; this is what we may repay to our fellow man and in doing so we will have fulfilled the law.

I Corinthians 3:9 informs us that “we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry {garden}, ye are God’s building.” What an awesome privilege! God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden, and today He considers us His very own garden, and we are His building. We walk with God in a very unique way and with incredible privileges because we are labourers together with God. “We then, as workers together with him {God}, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain” (II Corinthians 6:1). To receive the grace of God in vain is to never acknowledge Him and all that we are to Him in grace as His beloved children.

Every time we confess our sin to God, every time God cleanses us from unrighteousness, we are using the ministry of reconciliation, and by being in fellowship with Him, we may help others into this wonderful, cleansing ministry. God has, “quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:5–6). This is God’s elevated view of you and me because we are His garden and His abode; we are members of “the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:21–22). Can you imagine that we are the actual habitation of God? Well, the Bible says so, so this must be true!

The word committed in II Corinthians 5:19 above, means to put into ― us, and what God puts into us is His Word, the Word that gives us the God-given right and permission to continually be reconciled to God. The Word of reconciliation would almost be totally worthless if it came without the ministry that allows us to use it. The word ministry means to have a service for benefit that can be fully applied. It also comes with the God-given permission to walk within our calling of God in this ministry.

Within the ministry of reconciliation that each of us has, we also have been given the Word, placed within our hearts, and this is what gives us the ability to be reconciled. You see, we have Christ in us (Colossians 1:27), and he is the Word (John 1:14), and thus we have the Word in us. Spiritually speaking, we are inseparable from God by being in Christ and by being heirs of heaven itself (Romans 8:16–17). The more we learn about the Christ within, the more of the Word of reconciliation we can aspire to for daily use as we become ever more gentler, Christ-like people, and certainly more happy in our daily travels.

II Corinthians 5:20: Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you {call you} by us {the Apostles}: we pray you in Christ’s stead {place}, be ye reconciled to God.

With the ministry and Word of reconciliation, we have been given an appointment, a God-given ambassadorship to live here on earth in Christ’s stead, enjoying the true reconciliation that Christ made available for us. We being ambassadors for Christ today represent his completed work not only for ourselves, but also for the people we know and talk with, and we may witness to them with all the authority God has commissioned and given us as Christ’s own ambassadors who “shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life” (Philippians 2:15–16).

We are citizens of heaven itself (Colossians 1:13, I Thessalonians 1:12), and we are ambassadors here on earth for Christ (II Corinthians 5:20), and we are commissioned to share the Gospel with others. God has given to us diplomatic immunity from the course and evils of this world (Ephesians 2:2–6), from the old man nature (Romans 6:6–12), from sin that can so easily beset and entangle us (Hebrews 12:1), so we may be free to serve Him and enjoy our lives immersed in the graces of God.

II Corinthians 5:21: For he {God} hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Jesus took our sins, becoming sin for us, so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Christ, who is now in us, with the Word and ministry of reconciliation. This is what allows each believer to maintain their fellowship with God; we have the ability to continually be renewed in the spirit of our minds by the Word that we have received, and that Word becomes manifested as we believe that we have been given the ministry and Word of reconciliation. Thus, we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

II Corinthians 5:17–21 (The Amplified Bible)**:
17: Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!
18: But all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation [that by word and deed we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him].
19: It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor).
20: So we are Christ’s ambassadors, God making His appeal as it were through us. We [as Christ’s personal representatives] beg you for His sake to lay hold of the divine favor [now offered you] and be reconciled to God.
21: For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness].

**Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.

Being Born Again

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

 I Peter 1:23: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible {seed}, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.

When the Scriptures say that believers are born again, then we may believe this truth because the Word of God liveth and abideth forever. In the beginning was the Word (John 1:1), and the Word of God is still here and always will be. Since God’s Word claims that we are born again, then that is the truth and something we may put on in our thinking processes as we renew our minds by thinking with this spiritual perspective that we are born again.

Nicodemus once questioned Jesus about these same truths of being born again and this is recorded for us in the Gospel of John chapter 3. “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). But Nicodemus could not comprehend the concept of being born again, thus Jesus said to him, “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things” (John 3:12)?

Jesus was somewhat disappointed that Nicodemus did not understand the Word of God and said to him, “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things” (John 3:10)? Nicodemus was a master (teacher) of the Scriptures, yet he really did not have a clue about the subject of being born again and everlasting life when speaking to Jesus who is the resurrection (see John 11:25). Jesus was in essence saying to him, “Man, how can you call yourself a Teacher and a Man of the Cloth (so-to-speak), if you do not understand even foundational truths regarding your future life!”

John 3:14–17:
-14: {Jesus is still talking to Nicodemus} And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
-15: That whosoever {this includes Nicodemus, you, and me} believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
-16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
-17: For God sent not {sent NOT} his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

When we were born, we became the progeny of our mother and father; we can never change that fact. (The miracle of our birth is not that man created anything, but rather the God-given abilities that the Creator gave humanity were employed.) Oh, I know some parents would like to disown their children and vice versa; however, by virtue of birth we are the children of our parents. It is the same with God ― once we are saved (born again) we are children of our heavenly Father. We become born again, but not of corruptible seed, as is our first birth, which is corruptible because of the sin nature inlaid in man since the fall of man in Genesis (Romans 5:12). However, God’s seed is incorruptible and eternal. He is our heavenly Father for all eternity!

Galatians 3:16: Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He {God} saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy {or your} seed, which is Christ.

When we become born again, we have the spiritual seed of Christ in us, and having Christ is having eternal life (I John 5:11-13). We are, according to the Scriptures, members of the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:27) because we have received the seed of Christ. Romans 12:5 says, “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another,” because we are born again of incorruptible seed, and are now permanently members of God’s Family. Having this wonderful gift within gives us an everlasting standing in the household of God as His very own children (Ephesians 2:19-22), and this can never change. In the Old Testament, yes, the believers could lose their standing in God’s care, but today in grace because of the completed work of Jesus Christ on our behalf (I Peter 1:18-19), we are the children of God now and throughout all eternity.

Colossians 1:27: To whom God would make known {to you and I} what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

The mystery is literally that the Jews and Gentiles who do become saved belong to God, and they become permanent members in the body of Christ (Ephesians 3:1-7). The foundation of this mystery is Christ; and we having everything Christ has ― his love, his peace, and his eternal life ― and we can know and enjoy the spirit of Christ in our hearts (Romans 8:9-17). The riches of this mystery are Christ in you, the hope of glory, to literally be with Christ in his glory for all eternity.

II Thessalonians 2:14: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

II Timothy 2:10: Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Having Christ in you and obtaining his glory are biblical testimonies, but learning how to enjoy these spiritual truths takes the renewing of our minds to what the Scriptures teach. The renewed mind is a dynamic study within the Scriptures that show and teach the children of God how to become ever more Christ-like in daily living. The first step to having and enjoying a renewed mind in this day and age of grace is to become born again, and Romans 10:9 and 10 explicitly puts the process into plain words about how to become saved, receive salvation, and be born again.

Romans 10:9–10:
-9: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
-10: For with the heart man believeth unto {God’s own} righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto {your own} salvation.

The renewed mind process is one of the most enjoyable and exciting treasures we could ever receive, because having the renewed mind is having God’s best for us; we literally start to enjoy the spiritual qualities of Jesus Christ. Romans 10:11 continues, “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” The words shall not be ashamed means to be totally exempt from condemnation and despair because when we have the renewed mind, as promised we will know for certain that we are born again and we can know the certainty that we are going to heaven. We will never need to question or doubt in our eternal destiny again, as Nicodemus had, because our eternal life will become an apparent, present-tense reality in our hearts.

In order to enjoy God’s blessings upon our lives we first believe and confess in Romans 10:9-10 and we become born again and are members of God’s family, able to receive biblical truths that are inspiring and renewing and comforting in our new fellowship and journey together.

II Corinthians 6:2: For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Ephesians 1:13: In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.

I Thessalonians 5:9: For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Rejoice and Be Glad in God

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

The greatest experience in all of life is the day that a man or a woman realizes that God is real. Even children wonder if God exists and some people go through their entire lives ever wondering. Others who have taken the initiative to seek God out in His healing Word and begin to believe with their hearts find that God graciously begins revealing Himself to them.

Hebrews 11:6: But without faith {believing faith} it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

When we “believe that he is:” He is most pleased! When we “diligently seek” God: God rewards!

Psalms 70:4: Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified.

When we seek to find and know God, then rejoicing and gladness will begin flowing into our lives, and our love of salvation will increasingly grow, and our God becomes ever more “magnified,” ever more real, and ever more realized by us as a present-tense reality. For He has said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5b). We now bask in the comfort of knowing that God is with us and for us, and He becomes the joy and rejoicing of our souls, and He will be our inner gladness throughout eternity.

Psalms 34:1–4:
-1: I WILL bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
-2: My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
-3: O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.
-4: I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

One of the major fears that we can be completely delivered from is the fear that God is not real. The fear of life simply ending without God can be excruciating and even horrifying; however, God can and will deliver us from this fear. For we are among those who have sought the Lord, we are among those whom He has heard, and we are among those whom He has delivered from all our fears. Praise God!

Psalms 9:2: I will be glad and rejoice in thee {God}: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.

The Psalmist boldly proclaims in the songs written on his heart that he will be glad and rejoice in God. Why? Because he knows Him, he is among those who have sought God out, and he has discovered as we can, that God indeed is real. One wonderful reward for this search is that God gives to us gladness and joy, and these will strengthen the searching believers in their daily fellowship with Him Who created all things.

So today, enjoy the gladness, experience the joyfulness we have received by obtaining our salvation. We certainly can love our salvation, for salvation is one of the rewards we receive for seeking out God, our heavenly Father.

Psalms 40:16: Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified.

Rewards of the Kingdom

“At one time in my life I could not have fathomed receiving the kingdom of God, let alone everything else He gives (Romans 8:17). Then I discovered the author and finisher of my faith, Jesus Christ, and with him, my believing-faith began to grow effortlessly. The reason that we are encouraged to seek the kingdom of God — first, is because God called you unto his kingdom and glory– I Thessalonians 2:12. These are promises to and for those who diligently seek God first, as promised. All we need to do is believe, believe, and believe! Ephesians 3:20 reads, Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, and that power in us is our believing-faith, which energizes us exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. As our own believing-faith grows, we will be enabled to believe in things that at one time in our lives we perhaps thought were impossible, yet with God, all things do become possible (Luke 18:27), as we with our believing-faith begin not only asking and seeking, but also receiving and enjoying, because God is a rewarder.” ~LMJ~