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Engaging Theology: New Frontiers

I describe myself as a Frontier Theologian. I study, research, and teach frontier theology.

What is frontier theology? First, let me define missions. Christian missions are about spreading the gospel and teaching the Word of God among people in geographic areas where the church is already established. Frontier missions are about spreading the gospel and teaching the Word of God among people in geographic areas where the church is very weak or does not yet exist. The Apostle Paul is the prime example of a frontier missionary. In short, a frontier missionary spreads the gospel in new areas.

Frontier theology, on the other hand, is teaching new aspects of theology or applying theology to new areas of thought and practice. This includes topics that may have existed for a long time but have not yet saturated the Church. A frontier theologian is one who carries out the study, teaching, and application of the frontier theology. Describing myself as such does not mean I never touch on everyday theology such as righteousness, sin, crucifixion, justification, and the resurrection. My primary focus is on theology that is not widely studied, taught, and known in the Church.

Why the need for frontier theology and frontier theologians? The body of Christ has existed for roughly 2,000 years. This may seem like a long time, but the reality is the church is very young, considering the breadth and depths of the knowledge of God and His creative powers in designing the universe. The advancement of technology, especially in our lifetimes, has opened us to new realities to apply Scripture upon. This advancement has also given us an enormous pool of available resources along with new techniques for more effective and efficient study with numerous channels for exchanging information and debating with others.

What are some examples of new frontiers? Let us first go back into an example from history. The Protestant Reformation was a movement into new frontiers. It was a time of new perspectives and understandings about Scripture versus tradition, faith versus works, church leadership versus laity, the availability of Bibles, and so much more. Returning to our own generations, some examples are the issues of vaccines, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), traditional versus alternative cancer treatments, man-made climate change, pharmaceuticals versus nutrition, and environmental sustainability.  The topics I just mentioned have been largely untouched and unsaturated by the teachings and practices of the Church. These are new frontiers to be studied and researched in light of Scripture. One last example I want to be sure to mention is the study of the end times (aka eschatology). The Church has been saturated by premillennialism, yet there is very little known (by most Christians) regarding the details and depths of other theories such as amillennialism, postmillennialism, and preterism (partial or full).

Imagine how God designed our bodies to work in synergy with the external environment (air, water, food, toxins, pollution). By studying these topics with the available resources, we can learn a lot about God’s design, bringing Him further praise and glory. We can look for oversights or corruption that harms God’s design and take corrective actions through education and activism. Remember that homosexuality is harmful because it goes outside the boundaries of God’s perfect design. By comparison, have the corporations and other entities done anything that is harmful for being outside the boundaries of God’s design? The Church has often been an influence on governmental laws, regulations, and policies. Abortion, adoption, freedom of religion, and immigration are good examples. Currently, it is largely the secular activist organizations doing the research and educating the public—though there are Christians involved in these organizations. Opportunities abound for the Church to improve the quality of life for society, loving our neighbors by doing so, sharing the gospel, and being a light to the world. Perhaps greatest of all, is admiring in awe and wonder the glory of God in His wisdom and creativity in design. We can understand the world more and more from God’s perspective.  There is nothing more exciting, fulfilling, and long-lasting than to know God more intimately.

Knowing God more and becoming one with Him in Christ is the ultimate goal of theology, and frontier theology is a means to encouraging us towards full growth by examining the whole of God’s counsel against the whole of creation. Will you support, in word or deed, frontier theology?

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My Response to “Let Not Food Destroy the Body” by Stacey Reaoch [Part 1]

My Response to “Let Not Food Destroy the Body” by Stacey Reaoch [Part 1]
https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/let-not-food-destroy-the-body

The author used the following text as one of the supporting arguments for her conclusion:

[1 Timothy 4:4–5] “(4) Everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, (5) because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.”

Hermeneutical Error: Contextual Oversight
Result: Misapplication; incorrect conclusion
Author’s conclusion: “The New Testament gives us no specific regulations on what kinds of foods we can consume…We are to eat what God provides, whatever God provides…”

Verses 1-3 will provide sufficient context for my argument.

[1 Timothy 4:1-3, emphasis mine] (1) Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, (2) through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, (3) who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

In verse 4, “everything” is referring to what God has created. What is meant by “God has created?” Verse 3 mentions marriage and food. We know from the creation account in Genesis that God created marriage and food. When did God create? It was before the Fall of Adam. Literally everything God created in the beginning was very good.

In moving to the time after the Fall of Adam and Eve, let us look at marriage and food, both in the biblical times and in our modern times. The Apostle Paul said it is wrong to forbid marriage. Are there any restrictions? The Bible is very clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. Are there any restrictions not specified in the Bible? Possibly. Most of us would agree that a 45-year old man should not marry a 13-year old girl, so there is no need to spend time explaining that one. The point Paul was making is that marriage, in general, should not be forbidden, because it is created by God.

The Apostle Paul said it is wrong to require abstinence from food. What if the food contains E. Coli? Should we share food with our friends when we know the food contains E. Coli? Here we can create a distinction. There is a difference between food and adding substances to the food. Lettuce is food, but E. Coli is added to the food. Most of us would agree that we should not eat or encourage others to eat food knowingly contaminated with potentially harmful E. Coli.

God created food, but the food industry has been adding so many ingredients to the food. These added ingredients are not food created by God. It is a major oversight to overlook the distinction between food and added substances to the food. There is a strong scientific basis behind the potentially long-term harmful effects behind many of these substances. I encourage the universal church to do a closer examination of the questionable substances added to the food and how such substances affect the human body. Such research will give us more reasons to praise and glorify God as we learn how God designed the synergy between our bodies and our external environment (air, water, land, food).

I think my explanation suffices to state that First Timothy 4:4-5 is not applicable for supporting the author’s conclusion. If time permits and God wills, I will respond to more parts of the author’s article. Despite my disagreements to portions of the article, I appreciate the author’s effort in tackling this topic. I believe this topic will become more common over this next decade. This is only the beginning.

John 14:1-3 – Rapture or Indwelling Holy Spirit?

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:1-3, ESV).

Many believe John 14:1-3 is referring to the rapture. A quick examination of a couple of the Greek words disproves this interpretation. The Greek word behind “rooms” is μονή (monē) which means “a staying, abiding, dwelling, abode.” The only other place this word is used is in the same chapter in verse 23, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home [μονή] with him.”  These “rooms/homes” are not some place in heaven or a future earthly millennium kingdom. These “rooms” are us believers.

A very similar word found in John 14 is the Greek word μένω (menō) which means “to remain, abide.” John 14:10 says, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells [μένω] in me does his works.” In addition, John 14:17 says, “even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells [μένω] with you and will be in you.”

John 14 is all about the promise that God will dwell within us forever. John 14:20 summarizes the point of this chapter very well: “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” Verses 10-11 say, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.” Again, verse 23 says “we will come to him and make our home with him.” God the Father and Jesus the Son will both come to make their home with us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Jesus first had to go to the Father to prepare a place for us. He had to complete redemption by ascending to the Father.  Only then could Jesus ask the Father (verse 16) to send us the Holy Spirit. This sending occurred on the Day of Pentecost.

Jesus promises, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (verse 18). He comes to us through the indwelling Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of adoption. “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father’” (Romans 8:15)! We are no longer orphans, but we have received the Holy Spirit of adoption.

My last argument is that the Father’s house in the Old Testament was the Temple, but it was a shadow of the true temple, namely God Himself. The New Testament tells us that we are the temple of God.  Jesus said He was the temple and would rise again after three days of being torn down. We are the Father’s house. There are enough dwelling places or rooms for each and every saint throughout all of history to abide in Christ forever.

I do not see any support for the rapture in this verse.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has made their home with us former orphans by the indwelling Holy Spirit of adoption by whom we now cry out “Abba, Father;” this Spirit sent to the body of Christ on the Day of Pentecost after Jesus ascended to the Father to finish preparing a place for us in the temple of God. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty who has chosen to dwell in us and we in Him, forever and ever. Amen!

Rejoice in the Glory of God and Suffering

[Romans 5:2-5] (2) Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (3) Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, (4) and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, (5) and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

What does it mean to rejoice in the hope of the glory of God? What is the glory of God? The whole context of chapter five is eternal salvation. There are several declarations in the chapter to describe the glory of God in respect to the benefits received by us who put our faith in Him. “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” [verse 5]. “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” [verse 6]. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” [verse 8]. “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” [verse 9].  “[T]he free gift following many trespasses brought justification” [verse 16]. “[M]uch more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ” [verse 17]. “[G]race also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” [verse 21]. There are more statements in the chapter, and all of these are a description of the glory of God. We are to hope in these truths. The glory of God is synonymous with the gospel of God. We hope in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and all the benefits obtained for us who believe, both the benefits received now and the benefits to be received in the future. Let us rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

Verse three says we are also to rejoice in our sufferings for it produces endurance, character, and hope. There is a strong link between suffering and hope. Suffering is a raw material that produces the product of hope. Endurance, character, and hope are all built upon suffering. We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, but not only that, we also rejoice in our sufferings for suffering builds our hope in the glory of God. Suffering builds our hope in the gospel of God and the benefits received along with the benefits to be received. Suffering is only temporal, but one day the gospel of God will completely deliver us from all suffering as suffering will pass away forever. Endurance and character makes us stronger, builds our confidence, and provides a witness to the world of our hope. Rejoicing in our sufferings does not mean we seek suffering, but suffering is a normal experience in a fallen world, especially as we commit to do righteousness.

The next verse teaches that “hope does not put us to shame.” The reason is “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” What does this mean? How does putting hope in the glory of God not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts? If God’s love has not been poured into a person’s heart, then apparently hope can put such a person to shame. If we hope in anything other than the glory of God, we are putting our hope in the wrong objects, and this hope will put us to shame. Unbelievers hope in lots of things that will put them to shame. We can hope in our own wisdom, our families, our spouse, our parents, our children, our money, our career, or in other religions. Hope in these wrong areas will put us to shame when these objects fall short and fail us. Only hope in the glory of God will keep us from shame. Those in Christ are not destined for shame but destined for glory. When God’s love is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, hope in His glory will never put us to shame. Suffering produces stronger and more stable hope, so we want to rejoice in the gospel of God and in our suffering. Rejoicing in the glory of God gives us strength to rejoice in our suffering and rejoicing in our suffering gives us strength to rejoice in the glory of God.

The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years. Those who put their hope in the glory of God were not put to shame. Though they suffered in the wilderness, it produced endurance and character and hope in their hearts. They became a witness to the those in their community and the next generation, including the generations reading the Scriptures millennia later. On the other hand, those who put their hope in worldly things such as worldly wisdom, such Israelites were put to shame. Many were even killed for their unfaithfulness. They put their hope in the wrong objects and this hope did not produce endurance, character, and hope. Suffering is temporal, but we who hope in the glory of God are destined for eternal glory. We hope in our guaranteed salvation and complete deliverance from sin and death.

May we live according to the eternal weight of glory and not the temporal weight of suffering. May we learn to rejoice in the glory of God and to rejoice in our suffering. Amen.

The Oneness of God

The Bible reveals God as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Bible declares that there is only one God. The Bible teaches that God is eternal, all-powerful, all-wise, all-knowing, present everywhere, and sovereign over all things. This is true of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three persons are fully God, eternal, all-powerful, all-wise, all-knowing, and present everywhere.

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct persons. The Father is not the Son. The Son is not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not the Father. Concerning their divinity, they are equal. The divine Father is not greater than the divine Son. The divine Son is not greater than the divine Holy Spirit. The divine Holy Spirit is not greater than the divine Father.

There is, however, a difference in roles.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have different roles throughout eternity.  These roles were hidden in God throughout eternity past, but through creation these roles have become manifested to humanity.  These roles are very diverse, so I will be brief in pointing out what I believe is the most important. The Father sends the Son, the Son redeems a people, and the Holy Spirit preserves and sanctifies those people. To sanctify means to purify and make holy. These differences in roles do not result in inequality. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have different roles, but they are equal in divinity. The Son is no less divine than the Father, and the Holy Spirit is no less divine than the Son.

Now how can the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be one God? How can three persons be one God? The problem humanity has is our world is broken and our relationships with other people are broken. We have conflicts, opposition, and disagreements. We are born into a sinful world with sinful people, and sin has destroyed absolute unity between people. There is no such thing as perfect unity between people in this world. People are selfish, greedy, unloving, filled with pride, prejudice, etc. All types of sin in our hearts disrupts a perfect union between two or more people. This lack of absolute oneness causes us to unconsciously look at the Trinity from our human condition. Since two or more people cannot be perfectly one in absolute union, how can the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be one?

This brings up the first point. The oneness of God in Christianity does not mean that God is numerically one. What I mean by numerically one is the common objection to the Trinity is that 1 + 1 + 1 does not equal 1, but 3. This is very true, but the oneness of God as believed by Christians does not mean that God is numerically one. The oneness of God means that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are in perfect union and oneness with one another, and that there is no conflict, opposition, disagreements, or any such thing within the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This idea of oneness is what Jesus meant in the following passage in John 17:20-23,

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

We see in this passage the oneness of God, the oneness of believers, and the oneness of God and the Church together. Jesus asked that the Church would become perfectly one, just as the Father and Son are perfectly one. To be perfectly one means to have perfect unity without conflict, opposition, and disagreements, or any such thing. The Church will reach this perfect oneness on the Day of Resurrection and lasting throughout eternity.  This is the meaning of the oneness of God. This is how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one God. All believers will one day, in an absolute and perfect sense, be one church and one people and one nation. In the meantime, believers are to strive for oneness, but because we still struggle with sin, this oneness will be broken until this present world passes away and the new world is established.

My second point is this: there is only one God and there is only one humanity. Three persons does not make three gods, any more than 6 billion people makes 6 billion humanities. There is one humanity and one God.

Marriage is the third point I want to make in explaining the oneness of God. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Jesus Christ quotes that verse and clarifies, “So they are no longer two but one flesh” (Matthew 19:6). The Bible teaches the oneness of marriage. A husband and wife are to strive to reflect the oneness of Christ and His Church, as well as the oneness of the Father and the Son. Due to the sin in us all, the oneness of marriage falls short of perfection, but it nonetheless teaches us about the oneness of God and the oneness of Christ and the Church.

The Bible specifically teaches that marriage is the reflection of Christ and the Church. The husband represents Christ, and the wife represents the Church. The wife is to submit to her husband as the Church submits to Christ, and the husband is to love and nourish his wife as Christ loves and nourishes the Church, which is His body. Further elaboration on biblical marriage is beyond the scope of this writing, but you should have an idea of the oneness of God based on the Holy Scriptures’ teaching on the oneness of marriage. The Bible does not specifically use marriage as an analogy of the Trinity, but the same idea of oneness is involved, and thus you can learn about the oneness of God by studying the oneness of marriage.

A husband is an individual, and a wife is an individual, but through the union of marriage a husband and wife become one flesh, while retaining their individuality.  The Father is an individual, the Son is an individual, and the Holy Spirit is an individual, but through all of eternity the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have been one God. The oneness of marriage is a reflection on earth of the oneness of God in heaven.

In conclusion, I made three points to provide an explanation of the oneness of God, often called the Trinity. The first point was to compare the oneness of God with the oneness of believers. The second point was to share the truth of one God and one humanity. The third point was to compare the oneness of God with the oneness of marriage. I will end with the following two passages of Scripture:

(Matthew 3:16-17) And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

(Matthew 28:19) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

In the first passage we see the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the Father. The Son was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended like a dove, and the Father spoke from heaven. In the second passage, baptisms are done in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The name of God is Yahweh. The name of God can be compared to a family name. A family name is the last name of the members. The Smith family. The Shannon family. The Hassan family. The name of God is Yahweh, which means “I am that I am.”

May God grant all who read this a better understanding of the oneness of God in the Bible. Grace be with all whom God has endowed with knowledge of Himself according to the riches of His glory! Amen.

Incarnation of Christ: How Is Jesus 100% God and 100% Man?

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God….And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1-2, 14). How can God come to the earth as a man, yet remain God? God does not eat, drink, sleep, and die, yet Jesus Christ did all these things. How can this be?

Let us dive into the Doctrine of the Incarnation. Jesus Christ is the second person of the Trinity. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are eternally divine and have no beginning and end. They were not created, but are self-existent and self-sustaining. “God is spirit” (John 4:24). At the incarnation, Jesus Christ, who is spirit, wrapped Himself in human flesh and thus became the God-man. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word had one nature, namely His divine nature. At the incarnation, Jesus took on a second nature, namely a human nature. How did these two natures co-exist in the single person of Christ?

The Bible tells us that Jesus is both God and man, but it does not tell us how the two natures co-existed. In the early church there were discussions over this exact issue. A gathering took place in 451 known as the Council of Chalcedon. Three main views discussed were monophysitism (one single nature), miaphysitism (one united nature), and dyophysitism (two natures).

Monophysitism, claims Jesus’ human nature was absorbed by His divine nature to form a new nature. The problem with this view is that it contradicts the fact that Jesus is fully God and fully man. It was determined at the Council of Nicaea in 325 that Jesus Christ is of one ‘substance’ with the Father in His divine nature and one ‘substance’ with man in His human nature. This position contradicts this understanding. Monophysitism is better understood with an illustration. If you take yellow paint and mix it with blue paint, you end up with green paint. If this was true of Christ, then His divine nature mixed with His human nature to form a new nature, which would mean that Christ is not fully God or fully man but some nature in between. The church had to reject this view as unbiblical.

The council concluded that Jesus has two natures (or dyophysitism) beginning at the incarnation. The divine nature and human nature are united together in such a way that each nature retains its characteristics. The two natures of Christ united at the incarnation to form the single person of Christ, who is fully God and fully man. Protestants, Catholics, and most Orthodox hold to the two natures of Christ while some Orthodox such as the Ethiopian and Egyptian Orthodox hold to the miaphysite position. To touch on miaphysitism briefly, they believe that Jesus’ divine nature united with His human nature in such a way that Christ has one nature, yet without any change and mutation of the individual natures. If you recall the monophysite illustration with the mixing of the two paint colors to form a new color, such mixing does not apply to the miaphysite position. An illustration would be helpful. The Bible declares that through the union of marriage a man and a woman become one flesh (Genesis 2:24; Ephesians 5:31). Even though a husband and wife unite to become one flesh, the husband retains the characteristics of masculinity, and the wife retains the characteristics of femininity. When the two natures of Christ unite to form a single nature, they retain their individual characteristics. I disagree with this view and hold to the position of two natures, dyophysitism, as held by most followers of Jesus Christ.

In case all this philosophical talk has boggled your mind, which is completely normal–especially if this is your first time thinking about it–let me re-establish the widespread understanding of the two natures of Christ at the incarnation as understood by the worldwide church over the span of history. Jesus Christ has always had a divine nature, but at the incarnation He received for Himself a human nature, so He may provide salvation and forgiveness of sins to all who will receive Him. His two natures unite in such a way that Jesus Christ retains His divinity while becoming fully human, yet without sin.

Here is an illustration:

nature

What is the nature of a square? It has four corners. Each side is the same length. It has four 90 degree angles. What is the nature of a perfect circle? It has no corners. The radius and diameter are the same from all points of the circle. When the nature of the square and the nature of the circle unite to form a single entity, do the natures of the individual shapes change? The square is still 100% square, and the circle remains 100% circle. The natures of the shapes remain distinct and unique even after they unite. The same is true with the incarnation of Jesus Christ. The divine nature and human nature of Christ unite in one person, yet each nature retains all distinct characteristics.

Not only does Jesus have two natures, a divine and a human, but men and women have two natures as well. All of us are body and spirit. We have a spiritual nature and a human nature. At birth, our spirit and body are united to form us as an individual person. At death, our spirit departs from our body. At the resurrection, our spirit re-unites with our body. Without our spirit, our body is lifeless. When Jesus died on the cross, the scripture says He gave up His spirit (John 19:30). When Stephen was stoned to death, he called out for Jesus to receive his spirit (Acts 7:59). Such language describes the experience of death.

When the scripture states that Jesus ate food, drank wine, got tired, slept, and died, it is clearly referring to His human nature, namely His body. When you and I as regular humans eat, drink, and sleep, we are doing so for our bodies. Your spirit and my spirit do not eat or sleep. Our bodies do that. When Jesus ate bread and drank wine, it was not His divine spirit that ate and drank but His body that ate and drank. The fact that Jesus did these things like other humans does not mean He can’t be God.

A moment ago I said that humans have two natures, namely a spiritual nature and a human nature. It is important for me to point out that our spiritual nature exists as either dead or alive. An unbeliever has a spiritual nature, but the spirit is dead to the things of God and cannot receive the truth of God. “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). In brief, the natural person is a person whose spiritual nature is dead and unresponsive to the truth of God. What are the things of the Spirit of God? God speaks the truth and does not lie, so the things of the Spirit of God would be the truth. A natural man with a dead spiritual nature is unable to discern the truth of God, for it is not discerned with the eyes, ears, mind, and body alone, but it is discerned through the spirit. Such people find the death of Christ on the cross for the sins of His people as utter foolishness and refuse to receive it. To understand, believe, and receive the truth of the Spirit of God, you must be born-again by the Spirit so that your spirit is awakened to the truth of God. If your spiritual nature is dead, then pray for mercy and guidance. If your spiritual nature has been made alive by the Spirit of Christ, then set your mind on the things of the Spirit and put to death the deeds of your body (Romans 8:13).

I hope and pray that my explaining of the natures of Christ was sufficient and that my explanations and illustrations have been helpful. Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. He had to become a man in the likeness of sinful flesh to appease the wrath of God through the sacrifice of Himself in the place of repentant sinners. If Jesus was not fully God and not fully man, then His death on the cross is meaningless, and we will all perish in our sins. God is glorified in the humiliation of Christ on the cross because God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. God loved His people for His own glory, and He provided salvation for His people for His name’s sake. The incarnation of Christ and His death on the cross was necessary to purchase the gift of eternal life for our spiritual nature and restoration for our human nature. Let Christ be magnified!

Building Our Character Through Prayer

Prayer is one of the most important things in life. Without prayer, you can’t live out God’s entire plan for your life.

God created us in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). That means we are to live a life which reflects His character. Such character traits are humility, peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness, mercy, grace, slow to anger, quick to forgive, etc. We see our best example in the life of Jesus Christ as recorded in the four accounts of the Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).

Prayer is one of the most important things in life. Without prayer, you can’t live out God’s entire plan for your life. Jesus teaches about asking the Father for anything. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him” (Matthew 7:7-11, NKJV). Of course God will only give us what is according to His will.

Since God created us to be like Him, and the Holy Spirit has made our spirit alive within us, let us pray for the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts and build up our character so that we can reflect the glory of our Lord and Savior to the world around us. God does not do everything on His own, but He wants us to ask Him. If we don’t ask, we may not receive.

Below is a list of the type of things all Christians should pray for throughout their life. We should not pray for it just once, but many times. Change takes time and transformation is a life-long process. When God gives us peace, we can ask for more peace. When God gives us joy, we can ask for more joy. When God gives us love, we can ask for more love. Until the Day of Resurrection, we will never reach perfection, and therefore our prayers for such traits should never cease. Often times we change from one day to the next. One day we are filled with joy, and the next day we are lacking the joy we had the day before. Based on experience, when I am lacking joy, I ask God for it and shortly later I have my joy back. Now for the list:

– Humility – Ask God to make you humble.

– Peace – Ask God to fill your heart with peace, no matter what the circumstances in life are.

– Love – Ask God to fill your heart with unconditional love for all people, including your enemies and those who hurt you.

– Joy – Ask God to fill your heart with joy no matter what the circumstances in life are.

– Patience – Ask God to help you become more patient.

– Kindness – Ask God to fill you with kindness towards others.

– Gentleness – Ask God to fill you with gentleness towards others.

– Mercy – Ask God to give you a merciful heart towards others.

– Grace – Ask God to give you a gracious heart towards others.

– Slow to anger – Ask God to help you become slow to anger.

– Quick to Forgive – Ask God to help you become quick to forgive others, no matter what they have done.

– Servitude – Ask God to give you the desire to serve others and put there needs above your own.

God will answer your prayers and open doors for you to put these character traits into practice. God will put people into your life or bring you through circumstances in life that will give you the opportunity to practice these traits. Does that mean that if you don’t ask God to build your character, you will avoid such people and circumstances? By no means. When you ask God to build your character, the Holy Spirit will be with you to strengthen you and help you. Otherwise you may have to deal with such people and circumstances without the help of the Holy Spirit. God doesn’t force us to change. Let us give Him permission through our prayers.

What happens if you know what is right, but you don’t feel like going through the struggle of trying to change, so you just continue to remain the same? What if you just don’t have the desire to change? Well, nothing is impossible with God, so you can ask God to give you the desire to change. If we lack the desire, the interest, and the will to do something that we know is right or that we know God wants us to do, then we can ask Him to give us those desires, interests, and wills. If there is no desire, there is hope in the God who creates desires in our hearts. All we have to do is ask Him and trust Him to do according to His will.

I hope and pray that Christians throughout the world will build their character through prayer and practice. Many come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior not by word-of-mouth, but by living example. By how you live your life, the Holy Spirit will draw many to the Gospel. These people may even come to you with questions. “Do as I say, not as I do” will not save souls. “Do as I say, and follow my example” will save souls. Building up character builds up credibility.

Peace and grace be with you all. You may go pray now.