Now the Birth of Jesus Christ Was on This Wise . . .

Written by the Apostles, Luke and Matthew

Luke 1:26-38:
26: And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27: To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28: And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29: And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30: And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31: And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32: He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34: Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35: And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36: And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37: For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38: And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Matthew 1:18-25:
18: Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19: Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
20: But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21: And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22: Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23: Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24: Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

Luke 2:1-20:
AND it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
2: (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3: And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4: And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5: To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6: And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7: And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8: And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9: And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10: And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11: For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12: And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13: And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15: And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16: And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17: And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18: And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19: But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20: And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Matthew 2:1-15:
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2: Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
3: When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4: And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
5: And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
6: And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
7: Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
8: And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
9: When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
10: When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11: And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
12: And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
13: And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
14: When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
15: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

We Look for the Savior

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

The greatest expectation that the believer has is the return of his or her Savior who is Jesus Christ. When he returns, we will be gathered up with him to enjoy our eternity with him at God’s own right hand.

Philippians 3:20 – For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

“Our conversation” means our citizenship because our homeland is in heaven! With our heavenly standing in God’s family we may earnestly look with great hope for our Savior who is the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice that the verse does not say to pray for him to come because his return will happen on God’s timetable rather than on man’s timetable. The word “look” means to wait with patience and expectation.  I know that many Christian people fear this great and glorious day, but that is only because they have a wrongful fear of the greatness of Christ’s return for us. Some people are indeed fearful of the future wrath; however, God’s children do not, will not, and cannot pass through the impending wrath that is surely to come. In Philippians 3:20 our Lord Jesus Christ is called “our Saviour” because we have been saved, not for the wrath of God, but for heaven itself and to be eternally immersed in the love of God! The word “Saviour” in reference to Jesus Christ means that he himself accomplished our salvation and our complete spiritual wholeness. We will be in heaven before wrath and tribulation ever begin (I Thessalonians 4:13–5:5).

Philippians 3:21 – Who {Jesus Christ} shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things {all believers} unto himself.

The words “vile body” means a body that has been humiliated. The human body was originally perfect in every detail, having eternal life within its very nature before the fall of man in Genesis. It was the Adversary (the Serpent) who defiled and humiliated the human body of man from its original perfect creation, and with the return of Christ our bodies will be “fashioned like unto his {Christ Jesus’} glorious body.” When Christ Jesus awoke from the dead after his crucifixion he had a new and glorious body, which would never be humiliated again, that will never die again, and that will last him for eternity. This is the kind of body promised to believers!

Jesus was a perfect man, he had no sin in his body, neither was his body humiliated until he allowed himself to become sin for us and be brutally tortured and crucified. He indeed received humiliation and he experientially knows the hold the sin nature still has in man because he himself experienced this so that he could identify completely with humanity. Although our human body is still humiliated, we have been given great hope in the return of our Savior, and then we will receive heavenly life-regenerating bodies equally as powerful as what Jesus now has. He literally walked (or passed) through walls, appearing and disappearing in the midst of his disciples at will; he passed through the heavens and back in the blink of an eye, and was only recognizable to his disciples when he wanted to be recognized. This glorious body will be given to us, and is why the Scriptures say that we can look with great expectation for that great and glorious day of his return, and our gathering together up to him.

Call It What You Will, But Don’t Miss This Call!

“Now, at this moment in time, we are the recipient of a heavenly call to be in Christ that was first made known and answered in the first century by the Christian church. This is a call of unparalleled proportions as we become heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ– (see Romans 8:16-17). Philippians 3:20 reads, For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. The word conversation means our citizenship (see Ephesians 2:1822). This is a call to daily walk in Christ, knowing we are saved forever. For God hath not appointed {or called} us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us– I Thessalonians 5:9-10.” ~LMJ~

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.

Being in Christ

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

From the Scriptures we learn about the mind of Christ who is spiritually dwelling within. When we look to the Word of God, we will recognize that being in Christ is the foundation of continuous joy and spiritual growth. We have a real premise on which to invigorate our minds as we carry the Word in our minds and God’s love in our hearts ― then we will begin to understand God’s approval of us.

II Timothy 2:15 encourages believers to, Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. Some people think that the more they study their Bibles, the more they will become approved before God, but this is wrongly dividing the word of truth, because God has already approved us in Christ. If a premise begins in error, then the conclusions will be no closer to the truth than the original error. We cannot approve ourselves by works, for we are already approved by God’s grace (Ephesians 2:410) because we are accepted in the beloved, and the beloved is Christ; To the praise of the glory of his grace {God’s grace}, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved- Ephesians 1:6. II Timothy 2:15 is saying that when we study the Scriptures we will come to know just how much approval we have before God because we are in Christ, and this is rightly dividing the word of truth.

God does not shame us in the Scriptures; rather He encourages and builds us up because we have the God-given approval to have the mind of Christ ― daily. God’s Word indeed reveals the magnificence of the new man, the Christ within and in whom we may aspire to become like, as the Word says we are in “Christ’s stead” (II Corinthians 5:20). God approves of us through His grace, “To the praise of the glory of his grace {God’s grace}, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6), and the beloved is Christ Jesus, and through him we are approved, and being with him in our understanding is being in Christ.

II Corinthians 4:15–16:
-15: For all things are for your sakes {all the things promised to us in the God’s Word}, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound {to give in thankfulness} to the glory of God.
-16: For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish {although we continue getting older}, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

The abundant grace we have upon our lives causes us to be bountifully thankful in our giving glory back to our God. We faint not means that we will never get tired of thanking God for His abundant grace. The greatness of being a believer is that no matter our current age, we can always aspire to His healing Word as we are continuously renewed in the spirit of our minds with truth. In the Bible, the children of God who walk before Him are never called “has-beens” or considered “over the hill,” for the inward man (the Christ within) can always grow as we think on and speak of God’s Word.

I Timothy 4:8 records, “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” Bodily exercise profiteth little means that it primarily benefits oneself, but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. Godliness is having a meaningful relationship with God as our heavenly Father. Godliness is enjoying the renewed mind, being spiritually fit. Godliness is learning how to be in Christ as an athlete of the spiritual realm. Godliness is proving the “good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2), which brings profit into a believer’s heart, a heart that can then reach out of themselves and help others with God’s Word. Godliness is profitable, not only at any age in this life, but will be beneficial through all eternity. Everlasting rewards will be received by a life lived in godliness, and thus, I Timothy 6:6 expresses, “godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Galatians 4:19: My little children {from God’s point of view we are always His precious children}, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.

Having Christ formed in you represents the time span that it would take from the point of your salvation until you begin truly realizing your own spiritual light (the new man), and its source, “that the excellency of the power may be of God” (II Corinthians 4:7). After learning and knowing of the Christ within (created and placed there by God) comes your realization of this miracle of having Christ formed in you. When the Word of God really begins lifting your life up and out of the old nature and you begin relying on God’s Word as the words of life and your daily spiritual food, then Christ will be formed within your conscious mind and divine inspiration will direct your path into a life of godliness.

Galatians 6:15: For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature {new creation}.

This “new creation” is the spirit that God created in us, it is our “new nature in Christ,” and this new nature places the Christian believers on a spiritual journey with God that continues until the return of Christ when we receive our new spiritual bodies that will be totally renewed in spiritual perfection. The word availeth literally means that we can become strong in our spiritual life, the new creation strengthens plus enhances our walks with the heavenly Father, for the new creation shows us the true strength that Christ within continues giving to us (Philippians 4:13). The phrases neither circumcision and nor uncircumcision refers to an outward appearance of the works of man, for our new creation is an inward gift received by God’s grace, and the best we can do is appreciate the work of God in that He hath made us accepted in the beloved and renew our minds to this inherent truth.

I could take the time to tell you how sinful the old man nature is, but I would not be telling you anything new (Isaiah 59:12), because we have lived with this nature our whole lives. Indeed, the world is full of very good people and kind deeds, but the nature of sin is also everywhere, just pick up a newspaper or watch the news and you know what you will find. Focusing on sin and its motions is the diet that the world feeds itself on, and the more they do the worse the outlook and apparent destiny of man looks. But because of the new creation there is an escape, it is in Christ, and it is much more profitable to tell you that most assuredly we have a getaway that leads us out from that old nature. We have a new and eternal nature in Christ, one separate from “the course of this world” (Ephesians 2:2); it is our promised emancipation to be in Christ, and he earned this for us in the first century! It is time that we accept it, it is time we, as the Apostle said, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:40); it has been waiting in store, and all we need to do is believe to not only acknowledge it but to enjoy our heavenly nature. This is offered from above, from the right hand of God (James 3:17–18), and this is ours in the present now, in the perfect tense of every day till forever.

II Corinthians 5:21 reads that Jesus became “sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Jesus did not have to identify with mankind ― souls born into the nature of sin (Romans 5:12–14). Jesus was sinless, he was perfect, but for us he became sin, the righteous one for unrighteousness ones as he totally identified with man and literally tasted death for all (Hebrews 2:9). Jesus did this unselfishly because he loved you and me! We may now identify with him, yes we can ― we have been enabled to because of the love of God in us, which when applied will place us directly in Christ. We have been called to a new beginning, a rewrite of our personal histories that places us as being members in his-story, a new story of us in Christ that is being recorded down in the book of life, i.e., the living memory of God, for we have received a heavenly destiny in Christ. We will be in Christ in the eternity of heaven, as we can also be today, even though we live “in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation” (Philippians 2:15). Jesus our Savior takes us to a whole new dimension as we begin fellowshipping with him, coming to know all that he delivered us from and rejoicing in all that he presents to us now in grace.

I Thessalonians 1:10 says that now we are to “wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” Our deliverance from the future wrath is thankfully based on the awesome grace of God and is received by answering the call of salvation (Romans 10:910). There will be wrath coming in the future; the Bible says so, so it must be true. However, and thank God that you are totally exempt from all that wrath and you will be rescued by God’s son from heaven who will take you back to heaven with him (I Thessalonians 4:1318). Romans 5:9 states, “being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him,” and since you are justified you are equally saved from wrath. In the meanwhile, you have the blessed opportunity to allow the reality of Christ to be formed in you, as you are evermore becoming a new creation in Christ, renewed by the Word and nurtured in the light of God’s unending love.

Now, at this moment in time, we are the recipient of a heavenly call to be in Christ that was first made known and answered in the first century by the Christian church. This is a call of unparalleled proportions as we become “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (see Romans 8:1617). Philippians 3:20 says, “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” The word conversation means our citizenship (see Ephesians 2:1822). This is a call to daily walk in Christ, knowing we are saved forever. “For God hath not appointed {or called} us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us” (I Thessalonians 5:9–10). God has called you to Himself even before the foundation of this world.

Ephesians 1:4–5:
-4: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
-5: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.

II Thessalonians 2:13: But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

God has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, and He hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation! Could you have a greater calling? There is only one response to this calling ― answer! But how do you reply to such an awesome call? Paul wrote, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called” (Ephesians 4:1) “That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory” (I Thessalonians 2:12). You answer the calling by first believing He called you to be His child. This is then fulfilled by believing in and loving His Word, by seeing your approval of God Almighty, and by enjoying the truth that this calling was and still is according to the good pleasure of his will. By not doubting that you are dearly loved by both your heavenly Father and your wonderful Savior and that you are exempt from the future wrath, this is walking worthy of your calling.

II Corinthians 5:17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature {creation}: old things {in the mind, the old nature} are passed {are passing} away; behold, all things are become {are becoming} new {in our understanding}.

God loves you so much that He calls you His Beloved in I John 3:2! Let us start from this perspective, let us realize His outlook, let us accept His viewpoint, and let us enjoy His approval as we accept His endearing love for us that is so enduring! Being in Christ is walking with the healing Word of God in our daily lives. As we continue aligning our minds with the mind of Christ, then the true impressions of Christ will rise to the surface of our understanding and reason, and this will present to us inspirations that will unmistakably reveal in our hearts that we truly are in Christ.

Ephesians 2:19–22 (The Amplified Bible):**
19: Therefore you are no longer outsiders (exiles, migrants, and aliens, excluded from the rights of citizens), but you now share citizenship with the saints (God’s own people, consecrated and set apart for Himself); and you belong to God’s [own] household.
20: You are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself the chief Cornerstone.
21: In Him the whole structure is joined (bound, welded) together harmoniously, and it continues to rise (grow, increase) into a holy temple in the Lord [a sanctuary dedicated, consecrated, and sacred to the presence of the Lord].
22: In Him [and in fellowship with one another] you yourselves also are being built up [into this structure] with the rest, to form a fixed abode (dwelling place) of God in (by, through) the Spirit.

I John 3:1–3 (The Amplified Bible):**
1: SEE WHAT [an incredible] quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, that we should [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are! The reason that the world does not know (recognize, acknowledge) us is that it does not know (recognize, acknowledge) Him.
2: Beloved, we are [even here and] now God’s children; it is not yet disclosed (made clear) what we shall be [hereafter], but we know that when He comes and is manifested, we shall [as God’s children] resemble and be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He [really] is.
3: And everyone who has this hope [resting] on Him cleanses (purifies) himself just as He is pure (chaste, undefiled, guiltless).

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