THE LAKE OF FIRE - Part XII
GOD JUDGES THE WORLD IN A POND
WHENCE THE WORD LAKE?
Interesting word, this word "lake." The word lake in Rev. 19, 20, & 21 is "limen, which comes from Strongs "[#3040--limen] (through the idea of nearness of shore); a POND (large or small) -- lake."
And the word limen means "a harborhaven, the fair havens" (Strongs Greek Dictionary, p. 151).
A pond? God judges the world in a pond? Yes, God judges every unrepentant, unbelieving, wicked person that has ever lived (billions and billions and billions of people) -- The WHOLE WORLD OF HUMANITY (who are not in the first resurrection) in a pond. A pond of divine, purifying SPIRIT.
This word limen has the word "fair" before it in Acts 27:8, in the King James Versionthe "fair havens." Other translations render this verse as "safe harbor." (My father helped build Safe Harbor Dam in Pennsylvania).
Is not even the definition of this word and its root, comforting? And so even in this most solemn setting of Gods judgment there is a hint of safety and security.
SAFETY AND SECURITY IN THE DIVINE LAKE OF FIRE
Perhaps one reason that God describes this place of judgment as a "pond" or "lake" rather than a "harbor" is because a lake is landlocked, thus preventing a return to the perilous winds and waves of the deep sea from which these occupants have figuratively come:
This is not speaking of the physical waters of the worlds oceans, however. Remember that just as the "lake of fire" is symbolic in Revelation, "the sea" is likewise symbolic. This is speaking of the SPIRITUALLY DEAD from the great sea of humanity, not the relatively few literal flesh souls who have unfortunately drowned to death in the oceans of the world. Many have also drowned in rivers and other waterways dont you know.
The very reason that the "fair haven" of Acts 27:12
The American Bible Union Version translates this verse:
The Living Bible translates this verse:
ONLY GOD IS THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE SEA
Various nations in the past were called "the sovereignty of the sea" because of their great naval domination. But there is only one which is truly the Sovereignty of the sea, and that is God. Forty years ago I cut from a book and pasted into the inside cover of my Bible the following:
This is really a parable of the salvation of the world. The "sea" in Scripture is a symbol for mankind, humanitythe sinning human race. Scripture often speaks of (1) the sea, (2) the earth, and (3) the heaventhe sea being the lowest, and the heaven being the highest.
Remember the Scriptural principle that first comes the physical and then the spiritual. There are many physical types in the Bible that represent spiritual realities.
God saved Noah and his family from the raging waves of the sea in an ark. When we come to understanding spiritual things, we will clearly see that the ark represents Christ. We also have examples of Jesus saving His disciples from the raging waves of the Sea [lake] of Galilee.
Does anyone have the slightest doubt that Jesus possesses the power to calm the sea? Is any man or group of men more powerful than the sea? Then why, oh why, do we allow theologians, clergymen, pastors, preachers, teachers and authors to tell us that Jesus Christ is POWERLESS TO CALM THE SEA OF HUMANITY? That man possesses a raging power of "free will" that even God Himself cannot and will not penetrate or calm? No, my friends, " the winds and the sea OBEY HIM!"
On another occasion we read this:
In both cases Jesus SAVED His disciples from the raging waves of the sea.
JESUS CHRIST IS OUR COVERING
We just read where the Apostles were on a boat on the sea of Galilee and were, " COVERED with waves " I see another type here. What do the "raging waves of the sea" symbolize?
Jude tells us that, "filthy dreamers," who "defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities," "brute beasts," those who have "gone the way of Can," and are after "the error of Balaam," and those who "perished in the gainsaying of core," these are "spots in your feasts of charity RAGING WAVES OF THE SEA " (Jude 8-13).
Say, did you notice where these "filthy dreamers, brute beasts, raging waves of the sea" are located. Thats rightIN THE CHURCH. These evil people are eating right along with the rest in the Churchs "feasts of charity." These are those who, "say they are apostles [of Christ], and are not," and those who, "say they are Jews [spiritual Jews -- converted Christians], and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan."
The disciples were literally "covered with waves" of the sea, but they were also covered with the "raging waves of the sea" spoken of in Jude, because they were, as yet, unconverted.
Actually, the Sea of Galilee is really a lake, also called, The Lake of Gennesar [et] and Lake Tiberias. Jesus Himself called Galilee a "lake" (Luke 8:22). Notice that the carnality of man symbolized in "covered with waves" (raging waves of the sea) needed salvation"Lord save us, WE PERISH." What did Jesus become to His disciples at that very instant? Answer: "a covering shelter." Whereas they were covered by the raging waves of the sea, Jesus now became their "covering."
Jesus SAVED His disciples from the "raging waves of the sea that covered them," in the middle of the Sea [lake] of Galilee. But this was a literal physical event. They were not spiritually converted as yet, but this event pointed to just such a conversion of the spirit. Will not Jesus also become a "covering shelter" for others? If so, for whom, and for how many?
JESUS CHRIST IS THE COVERING SHELTER
It may come as a surprise to realize that Jesus started His work of propitiation in a "lake"the Lake of Galilee, and He will finish His work of propitiation in another lake, "the Lake of Fire."
In Romans 3:25 we read:
In Heb. 9:5 this same word hilcsterion (propitiatory) is used for the COVERING LID OF THE ARK. Jesus Christ IS the ark. When the disciples were "covered by the raging waves of the sea" Jesus Christ became their "covering," and (physically) SAVED THEM!
In Hebrew, "haven" comes from cowph, and it means "to COVER; a cove (as a sheltered bay, Strongs Hebrew Dictionary p. 32).
Jesus not only "propitiatesCOVERS," He IS the Covering, " IS the Propitiation " (I John 2:2). Likewise, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever," does not just "cover" IN the lake of fire: HE IS THE LAKE OF FIRE! Jesus Christ IS the Judge of the world, and the world is Judged not only BY Jesus Christ, but IN Jesus Christ.
These words and their meanings that God chooses for our understanding are not accidental coincidences. Every word of God is purified to perfectly fit its application:
Do any really believe that God wants to play just one more insane cruel joke on the majority of humanity which are supposedly destined to an eternity of torture in fire, by telling us that this insane pit of torture is going to take place in a SHELTERED PLACE OF SAFETY? Is God Almighty going to torture the majority of humanity in a place He jeeringly calls: a pond, a lake, a "SHELTERED PLACE OF SAFETY?"
It is true that, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God" (Heb. 10:31), but that does not negate the fact that there is also "safety, shelter, and covering" in Gods Divine Pond of Spiritual purifying FIRE.
FIRE IN THE LAKE
The lake of fire presents us with another enigma if taken literally. A literal lake is a body of water, not fire. We learned that the Divine purifying presence of God is in this lake in the form of spiritual brimstone. If it were water in the lake, we might conclude that those thrown into this lake are to be washed. The Bible does use water as a symbol of washing away our dirty sins. However, giant spiritual character flaws need more than washing, they need to be obliterated if they are "wood, straw, and stubble." And even the "gold, silver, and precious stones" need to be purged and purified if they are to be perfected.
One cannot wash away the impurities of the carnal mind any more than one can wash away the impurities in gold ore by water. It takes power, and heat, and the molecular separating qualities of fire to purify gold ore. And likewise, water has little effect on eliminating wood, straw, and stubble. But put fire to this same wood, straw, and stubble, and it will be obliterated, annihilated, eradicated, and exterminated.
This is the lesson we are to learn from Gods spiritual fire. Spiritual fire will purify good qualities to total perfection but will obliterate character flaws to total extinction. And so it is that God uses spiritual fire to produce the greatest possible good, not to cause the severest possible pain and torture.
GOD IS CALLING YOU
Here is Gods plan:
Now then, did God plan to call these sons? Did He have it all worked out in advance? Is there any chance of failure in bringing these Sons to glory? Lets read it:
It should be noted that the verbs in this verse are in the Greek aorist tense and should more properly be translated, PREDESTINATES, CALLS, JUSTIFIES, AND GLORIFIES. This is not a past and completed act only, but a continuous process into the future.
God is calling Sons and Daughters into Glory! All that He "foreknew" He will bring to fruition. But for what purpose? To roll round heaven all day? To play harps and sing gospel music for all eternity? To glut ourselves on dainty foods like some fat monarch? What is Gods first order of the day when all these SONS of God are manifested? Just what will they do? Or will they do nothing? We read part of the answer in one of the Scriptures quoted above. Lets read a little more. There is a GRAND CHALLENGE AND MARVELOUS WORK waiting to be accomplished by the manifested SONS OF GOD:
THE WORLD IS GROANING FOR IT KNOWS NOT WHAT
Notice this verse in a few other translations:
To be sure, it is GOD Who is telling us that the whole creation is groaning in earnest expectation. It is groaning for it knows not what, but GOD KNOWS! In other words, God is telling US, who are growing in spiritual truths, what it is that the whole world and indeed the whole creation is in desperate need ofthe saving power of the Sons of God. We ARE the BODY OF CHRIST! What Christ does, he DOES THROUGH US!
WHY? Why are they waiting for the manifestation of the Sons of God? Of what value will these Sons be to them? We can see why the Sons themselves would want to be manifested as such with God their Father and Elder Brother Jesus Christ, but why would all the wicked humanity of the entire "CREATION" be "waiting in EARNEST expectation?" What in the world is taking place here?
The church teaches that after all the Sons and Daughters of God are in their glory, the rest of the world will be tortured eternally by real fire in a terrorist hellhole of hopeless doom (never mind the fact that God says "there will be NO MORE DOOM") (Rev. 22:3, Concordant Literal New Testament).
Seriously, when all the Sons and Daughters of God are manifested IN THEIR GLORY, why would the ENTIRE CREATION be awaiting this event with almost uncontrollable bated breath, excitement, and anticipation? WHY? What is it that the churches have never told you? What is God going to do with all these glorified Sons and Daughters?
You have heard enough lies, now lets read Gods Truth. Here is one of the most profound and all-encompassing Scriptures in the entirety of the Bible:
WOW! Let me point out a few marvelous things in this verse. Notice the chronological order of things in this Scripture and see how it contradicts the terrible teaching of orthodox doctrine:
First the Sons of God are manifested or shown to be what they really areSPIRITUAL SONS OF GOD (and DAUGHTERSII Cor. 6:18)! No longer flesh and blood. No longer subject to the pulls of a carnal mind, but True Sons in the very IMAGE OF GOD and His Son, Jesus Christ.
But what happens next? What happens to all the rest of humanity who are not sons and daughters and are not saved? What will happen to them? Just why, pray tell, are they eagerly awaiting the manifestation of these Sons and Daughters? Of what value is the salvation and manifestation of the few chosen saints to those left behind who are not saved?
The Church teaches the world that the rest of humanity will be tortured for all eternity in the lake of fire. Is that true? Is that the purpose of the lake of fire is?
Next we read what the condition of the rest of humanity is, how they got that way, and what is the solution to the problem.
God MADE man subject to vanity. God did not ask mans permission to do this. God did it for His own wise purpose. But God is not a fiend that takes pleasure in the failures of weak humanity. God did not make man in a condition of vanity so that most of humanity would fail of the ideal, and God would then torture most of his creation eternally, when it was He Who created them weak and subjected them to every form of vanity in the first place. God created the whole creation subject to vanity. It is, therefore, Gods responsibility to get man out of this mess.
God supernaturally made a way for the "manifested Sons of God" to conquer the flesh and the carnal mind and be formed into the very image of God with the very mind of Christ! They will be no longer subject to vanity when they are manifested. They will be no longer subject to "the BONDAGE OF CORRUPTION." They will be FREE!
And it is they who will then FREE the rest of humanity from their bondage! What was the purpose for this subjection to vanity? So that they will eternally fail and God would eternally torture them for their failure? No! Lets read it:
God has, "subjected the same IN HOPE" (Verse 20). Wait a minute, am I saying that all of humanity, who fail to be in the first resurrection and become the manifest Sons and Daughters of God, will nonetheless still have "hope?" Is there really hope for all the lost and unsaved? How can this be? Arent they going to be subjected to the "lake of fire?" Yes, but there is "hope" in the lake of fire. In fact, the lake of fire is their ONLY HOPE! They will not be eternally tortured just because they did not attain to the first resurrection, but will rather be "DELIVERED!" Lets read it:
HOPE AND BLESSED ASSURANCE IN THE DAY OF JUDGMENT
So all creation spoken of in Rom. 8 will ultimately die. And "after" death comes "judgment." Who is in charge of this judgment and when will it take place?
Notice the reason given that THE WHOLE WORLD, or the WHOLE INHABITED EARTH as some translations have it, is given "assurance." It is because Jesus Christ ROSE FROM THE DEAD! Paul plainly tells us that if Christ has not been raised from the dead, then even WE are still in our sins:
And so it is because of Christs resurrection that we have HOPE and ASSURANCE for a future life with GOD! And now you also have Scriptural proof that the ENTIRE CREATION which was SUBJECTED TO VANITY and CORRUPTION, NOT WILLINGLY, has "HOPE" in the same risen Christ. And the whole inhabited earth, in that day of judgment, ALSO has full ASSURANCE because Jesus Christ was raised from the dead! Do you even begin to comprehend what you are now reading in Gods Word? Gods day of judgment is a time of "hope" and "assurance."
We read that all judgment has been given unto the Son, Jesus Christ. But Jesus is not the only Judge in that day. Here is where the manifested Sons and Daughters of God come into their most important role in the salvation of all mankind, all creation, and the entirety of the creation in both the heavens and the earth:
THE SAINTS SHALL JUDGE THE WORLD
The called and chosen were born to be Judges:
Every man will be judged and the Saints will do the judging:
JUDGES, LORDS, PRIESTS AND KINGS
The called and chosen were born to be Judges, Lords, Priests and Kings:
We are the church of the Living God, and what is the church in relation to Christ?
Whatever Christ does, WE DO ALSO, because we ARE HIS BODY! Yes, WE, the manifest Sons and Daughters of God, will JUDGE THE WORLD!
But are the saints ready, equipped, and experienced to actually judge the world by the mere fact that they accept Jesus as the Priest, Lord, King, and Judge of the world? We are part of this world until God takes us out of it. We too have need of a Priest, a Lord, a King, and a Judge.
All too many Christians accept Jesus as their Priest, Lord, King, and Judge in ceremony only. In fact, I doubt that many accept Jesus as their "JUDGE" even in a ceremonial way, let alone by actual experience OF that judgment in their daily lives.
We must first be judged ourselves if we are to became the judges of the great sea of humanity.
THE SYMBOL OF THE SEA
One will never understand the Book of Revelation until he understands the meaning of the symbols. This is a huge study which would take more time and space than is being devoted to this paper on the lake of fire. However, to understanding the lake of fire alone, we need to understand the meaning of numerous symbols. One important symbol used throughout the Bible and in Revelation is the word "sea." As the whole book of Revelation is symbols and figurative language, we should hardly believe that when God speaks of the "sea" that he has reference to the literal oceans of the world. This will be clearly seen as we let the Scriptures interpret for us the meaning of sea used as a symbol.
sits upon "many waters" we are told in Rev. 17:1. Anciently God also referred to the nation of Babylon as, "O thou that dwells upon MANY WATERS " (Jer. 51:13). And these many waters are explained in Rev. 17:15 as:
Since all of Revelation is symbolic and metaphorical language, the "sea" represents the vast sea of humanity, not the watery oceans of our planet. It is fitting that if ancient Babylon dwelled upon "many waters" that the end-time Mystery Babylon would also sit upon "waters" which are clearly defined as "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues."
And just where are we told that the beast that carries the great whore comes from?
God uses "waters" and "sea" interchangeably in the Scriptures. Babylon was:
Notice that Babylons " waves do roar like great waters " (Ver. 55). But then in verse 36 we read this:
Anyone who followed the war in Iraq knows that there is no sea in Iraq. This is not speaking of a large body of water, but of PEOPLE!
Notice further proof in verses 42-43:
After the establishment of Babylon as a nation, it was never entirely flooded by a literal sea of water. Besides, if a land were "flooded" it could hardly be called "a DRY land," could it? Notice what the "sea" and the "waters" represent:
It is the wicked that are generally associated with "the sea." In Jude 4 we read of
In verse 13 these same ungodly men are called, "RAGING WAVES OF THE SEA "
And the "many waters" are defined as,
The whore is a great church, and it sits on a wild beast (a great political system), and John, " saw a wild beast rise up OUT OF THE SEA (Rev. 13:1). This beast does not rise up out of one particular sea, that is one particular nation or people or multitude or tongue, but out of ALL OF THEM.
And the waters on which the whore sits are called, " peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." In other words, the whore sits upon ALL THE SEA; ALL THE PEOPLES AND MULTITUDES AND LANGUAGES AND NATIONS OF THE ENTIRE EARTH! And she RIDES the wild beast that came up out of this same great and vast sea of humanity.
THE SEA OF GALILEE VERSUS THE LAKE OF FIRE
Lets look at Matt. 14 next, and learn a great lesson from this physical type of a spiritual reality.
Jesus always operates, teaches, and saves, from the midst.
Now then, where do you suppose that it is that WE, the Body of Christ, the Sons of God, receive our trials, training, and experience of overcoming this world? Answer:
It always amazes me how so many people when they truly want to become holy, go off somewhere in an isolated monastery to get away from the world. Yet Jesus trains us right in the MIDDLE of this crime-ridden and sin-sick worldin the MIDST.
Was this a good thing that the disciples were being "tossed" with the waves? Not according to them. They were frightened! But Jesus wanted them to experience this "tossing" with the waves.
Jesus did not come to them until the "fourth watch" (between 3 and 6 am), when they were now "in the MIDST of the sea." And the winds and waves were very strong so that they were being "TOSSED."
Notice that it was Jesus Who commanded them to take this ship to the other shore:
Why did Jesus need to "constrain or compel" them? The word "constrained" in this verse is translated from the Greek word anankazo, and notice its definition:
Wow! "To compel, whether by THREAT, ENTREATY, FORCE or PERSUASION."
No one with a carnal mind ever desires the judgments of God. We arent told exactly how much threat, entreaty, force or persuasion Jesus used on the disciples to get them to take their boat into the sea, but we know for sure from the word itself, that it took more than a casual suggestion that they go. Likewise, we read that those who must go through the lake of fire, are
They will not want to go voluntarily. And so it is true that:
But it is still far better to be "in the hands of the Living God" than to be anywhere else! Even the of worst of scoundrels who have ever lived will fare far better in the hands of the Living God than anywhere else.
The Church thinks that this verse says, "It is a fearful thing to fall UNDER THE FEET of the Living God" rather than, "It is a fearful think to fall INTO THE HANDS of the Living God."
It sounds to me like His disciples DIDNT WANT TO GO! Jesus didnt just say: "You go on, fellows, and Ill catch up with you later." No, He COMPELLED them to go! They obviously didnt want to go. The sea was probably ALREADY turbulent and scary, and I am sure they realized the further they went from shore the worse it would be. They were afraid to go, but Jesus "COMPELLED" them to go; they had to go! And so they went.
Do you not see yourself in this scene? Do you not picture yourself being compelled by our Lord to enter the dark and scary trials of this life? Do you not feel TOSSED by the frightening trials and tribulations of this life?
Let me give you a verse that I have never heard quoted in my life. It is not a popular verse. I doubt that very many will even remember having read it. Christian teachers like to avoid verses like this:
All of the apostles came to understand this verse experientially, as am I "TOSSED."
The word "tossed" appears but four times in the New Testament, and all four times it is translated from a different word. In this verse, tossed is translated from the Greek word basanizo, and here is its definition: "#928. basanizo, to torture:--torment. Basanizo, as a verb, properly signifies in Greek
And where have we seen this word basanos before? In my paper on "Lazarus and the Rich man" we saw that the Rich man was also, " in torments (Greek: basanosa touchstone) " (Luke 16:23). This is mental, emotional, spiritual torment. The Rich man was not physically tortured by the flames anymore than the disciples were physically tortured by the waves, or that Mary and Joseph were physically tortured when they couldnt find the young boy Jesus.
I assure you that Joseph and Mary were not physically tortured! Neither were the disciples (basanizo) physically tortured. Nor those who go through the fire of I Cor. 3:15, nor those who go through , "the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
Strongs Dictionary tells us that basanizo can mean: "to question by applying torture."
It ought to be apparent to anyone that for God, "to question" someone by "applying torture" is silly. God ALREADY KNOWS what is in man. He doesnt need to torture him to learn the truth. But it is absolutely necessary for man to go through this bassnizo, or torment because it is part of his spiritual development and spiritual perfection.
WHAT SINS ARE TORMENTED IN THE LAKE OF FIRE?
Here are the character flaws and sins that need "tormenting" in the lake of fire:
Is it absolutely necessary that even the "fearful and unbelieving" and all tellers of little white lies, must be cast into "TORMENT?" Yes yes it is.
At this time in Christs ministry, the apostles were still unconverted. It will shock most people to realize that Jesus went to the cross, never having converted a single disciple! They were not truly converted until the Day of Pentecost when they received the Holy Spirit of God WITHIN themselves. They were not, however, all, abominable, murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers, and idolaters. But they ALL possessed two or three of the character flaws mentioned in Rev. 21:8they were all "fearful [timid] and unbelieving."
Jesus specifically points out these character flaws to them all by an ACTUAL EXPERIENCE! In other words, the disciples proved TO THEMSELVES that they were fearful, unbelieving, and liars: " and they cried out for FEAR" (Matt. 14:26). And they all doubted that it was Jesus walking on the water, so Jesus both reprimanded and encouraged them:
And so we read that they were "tossed [TORMENTED] by the waves." They were being TRIED UNDER PRESSURE as when using a touchstone.
We have already proved that "the fire shall try every mans work" in I Cor. 3:13 is a spiritual match with Rev. 20:13 & 15 where "they were judged every man according to their works in the lake of fire" And in both cases the "fire" is Gods SPIRIT. Gods spirit burns spiritual character flaws out of the hearts of mankind in a similar way in which literal fire burns up and abolishes wood, straw, and stubble. And since we are the Body of Christ and we too are made "flames of fire," then we also judge the deeds of mens hearts.
CALMING THE RAGING WAVES OF THE SEA
What is the final outcome of a humanity that is likened to, "Raging Waves of the Sea?" Will they spew out their raging foam of hatred and wickedness forever? No, certainly not. There is a cure for every disease, a solution to every problem, a Saviour for every lost soul. The "raging waves of the sea" are not match for Him Who walks on water.
Has Jesus lost His touch? Do we think that Jesus no longer can make "the wind and the sea OBEY Him?"
Will these wicked "raging waves of the sea" continue foaming out their or shame for ALL ETERNITY, in a place of eternal torture? Or will Jesus once again walk on the waters and cause a "GREAT CALM" to come over all humanity?
The spiritual fire in the lake of fire is a powerful, powerful remedy for the sins of humanity, and this Fire from God will work a great work on the "raging waves of the sea." There is coming a great calm on all humanity:
All of the "raging and foaming" has been calmed SMOOTH AS GLASS by the fiery spirit of God. They now sing praises to God, symbolized by their harps! Jesus will yet calm the great sea of humanity. Be not deceived, the sea will yet "OBEY Him!"
(We will explain the symbols of "the beast," "his image," "his mark," "the number of his name," "the man of sin," "the two witnesses," "the second death," "the antichrist," etc., in upcoming installments of this series).
GODS MINISTERS ARE FLAMES OF FIRE
I showed you earlier that Jesus Christ is not only IN the lake of fire, He IS THE LAKE OF FIRE. He is the Divinity in this spiritual fire.
Therefore, we, the Saints, the Body of Christ, the consuming fire ministers of God, the saviours of Mt. Zion, the manifested Sons and Daughters of God, along with our Head, Jesus Christ, also ARE THE LAKE OF FIRE!
THERE IS NO LITERAL LAKE, AND THERE IS NO LITERAL FIRE. Jesus Christ and His Body of Saints ARE THE LAKE OF JUDGING, PURIFYING, CONSUMING SPIRITUAL FIRE!!!
The lake of fire is a metaphor written in symbols that stand for what is being symbolized, not the symbols themselves. The lake of fire is composed of Jesus Christ the Judge of the world, Christs divine spiritual fire and brimstone, and the Sons of God who are the body of Christ who are also FLAMES OF FIRE (Heb. 1:7).
And the whole world will be judged BY US! After death, all the dead will be resurrected, they will all be judged, they will have to pass through the purifying lake of fire, they will have to PASS THROUGH US! WE will be their judge along with our Lord.
And so, the GREAT SEA OF HUMANITY will be judged in the safety and security of the LAKE OF SAINTS!
NOT YET IN THE IMAGE OF GOD
Most of Christendom have been taught and believe that God created (past tense) man in the very "image of God." Oh really?
So if we want to see what the "image of God" really looks like, all we have to do is look at the vast sea of evil, sinning humanity? Or maybe you believe like many that Adam and Eve WERE (past tense) in the absolute, very IMAGE of God when they were created, but then lost that "image" when they sinned?
Few indeed realize that being made into the image of God is much the same as being savedIT IS AN ONGOING PROCESS!
Check all the verses in the original: "now saving," "to save," "shall save," "might save," "are being saved," etc. "For by grave ARE ye saved through faith " tells us HOW we are being saved, not WHEN (Eph. 2:8). Verses such as I Cor. 1:18 in the King James, " but unto us which ARE saved it is the power of God," is not a faithful rendering of the Greek. Check an interlinear. The words are thus: " to-THE YET ones-beING-SAVED US " Yes, often the original manuscripts have only endings and not the complete word, as in "ING." It clearly shows and uncompleted action.
Creating man in Gods image:
So we see here the same thing we have already discussed with regards to the Greek aorist tense of verbs, as in "For God so lovED the world" versus "For thus God lovES the world." Gods love for the world CONTINUES! And creating man in Gods image also CONTINUES!
Lustful, carnal-minded, sinning, Adam and Eve were no more in the complete image of God at their physical creation than the Apostles were completely converted during the schooling under Christs teaching. It is all an ongoing process. We are even still being converted, and still being perfected, and still becoming more and more like God. How often I have heard preachers remark how Adam and Eve where in the very IMAGE OF GOD. THE TRUE IMAGE OF GOD DOES NOT SIN!
Presently, only Jesus Christ is the true "Image of God" (II Cor. 4:4).
FOR YOU SEE YOUR CALLING BRETHREN
Isnt it strange that there are whole categories of people who are not even called in this church age (I Cor. 1:26)? And only a very few of those who are called, are finally "chosen." They are, of course, chosen for a grand and glorious purpose.
If one wants to die in their sleep during a peaceful dream and then float up to a fluffy cloud in heaven over the rainbow where they will then spend eternity plucking a harp, it is evident that that wouldnt require much prior training (except for possible harp lessons). But if one desires the "HIGH CALLING of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14), then brace yourself for a little more vigorous preparatory program.
God is choosing the FOOLISH, WEAK, BASE, DESPISED, NOTHINGS of this world to CONFOUND the WISE and MIGHTY of this world! And you dont think that will take any particular specialized training? You think that you are already fully equipped and suited for such a task? You feel that with your "acceptance" of Jesus Christ, that you are fully equipped to not only debate and take on the WISE and MIGHTY of this world, but to utterly CONFOUND THEM? Oh really?
Take heed that you do not end up like William Jennings Bryan in the infamous Scopes case, dubbed "the monkey trial," later made into a play and film entitled Inherit the Wind. The American Civil Liberties Union sent lawyer, Clarence Darrow, an agnostic lecturer, to defend a teacher, by the name of Scopes, for teaching evolution in the school. William Jennings Bryan, a Bible believer who was also Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson, led the prosecution. This agnostic lawyer, Darrow, however, humiliated the professing Bible expert, Bryan, in a cross-examination that made him look like a religious fool!
That Bryan was a believing Christian there is no doubt. That he was NOT READY "to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear [reverential awe]" (I Pet. 3:15), there is also no doubt!
Peter thought that he was ready to conquer the world at Jesus side, long before he was even converted:
And so it was with Peter (who personifies all of us), that he was not ready to take on the world with his carnal mind. He needed converting, training, experience, testing, and purging, before he (or we) would be ready to "Judge the world."
COUNTING THE COST
God has already outlined a training course for those who would be Sons and Daughters of God. It involves a whole lot more than just enunciating a phrase of faith in Jesus. Acknowledging Jesus as your Saviour is certainly the starting point, but it is far from the complete requirement for those who would reign with Jesus as Judge, Lord, Priest and King. Here are just a few of the things that God requires of us. There are, of course, dozens, even HUNDREDS more declarations and admonitions to those who would become manifest Sons and Daughters of our God and Father:
I know that it sounds overwhelming that we should actually live by all of these commandments. And actually, there are many more like commandments in Gods Word. How are we to perform all these impossible tasks? Well certainly not by our own will and power.
ALL THESE THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD
Thankfully, we dont have to accomplish all these many commands by our own power. God also gives us many promises to be with us in every way necessary to assure our success:
And likewise, there are many more such Scriptures of comfort and assurance that God is able and willing to see us succeed once He has begun a work in us.