Soteriology 018

Andy Woods

Soteriology 18, Revelation 1:6

May 18, 2016

Chapter 3 and verse 20.  We’re going to try to, God willing, wrap up tonight the results of salvation because next week we’re not meeting, as you know, although I’m going to be coming, I hope you will too for the kid’s presentation which is always a lot of fun.  It is impressive to see the amount of Scripture these children are committing to memory so it will encourage you.  And then the following week the class is no longer meeting on Wednesday, it’s going to be meeting Sunday mornings in the sanctuary.  So we will start fresh, if all the timing takes care of itself, with eternal security when we start teaching this in June on Sunday mornings during the Sunday School hour before the main service.

Eternal security is a topic I’m really looking forward to; there’s a lot of people that struggle their whole lives about whether they can lose their salvation, so we’ll be talking about that in depth Sunday mornings beginning in June.  But tonight we’re wrapping up the results of salvation; these are the items that we have the moment we trust Christ.  These things don’t cause salvation, they’re the repercussions of trusting Jesus as our Savior.  We have adoption, eternal life, regeneration, justification, forgiveness of all pre-cross sins, the capacity for good works, sanctification, glorification, and the end of the Law.

So tonight I’d like to just tackle in sort of rapid fire fashion, I just call these miscellaneous privileges, these are five more thing that you have as a consequence of being a believer in Jesus Christ.  So we’re going to talk tonight about heavenly citizenship, membership in a priesthood, the fact that we are engaged, a woman spoken for (sort of).  We have an inheritance and then we have peace with God.

So notice first of all heavenly citizenship.  And the book of Philippians, chapter 3, verse 20 lays it out, it says: “For our citizenship is in heaven from which we also eagerly await for the” the antichrist… oh, I’m sorry, it doesn’t say that, we “eagerly await for” what? “a Savior.”  See, a lot of people out there are arming themselves, not that arming yourself is wrong, but they’re post­tribulational and they’re getting ready to meet the antichrist, so they are militantly amping up.  That’s the mindset of a lot of people.  But you’ll see the New Testament never tells us to look for an antichrist; it tells us to look for Jesus, because we believe we’re going to be raptured before the tribulation even begins.  But that’s not our topic tonight.  But you’ll notice very clearly there in verse 11 it says, “our citizenship is in heaven.”

Now this was written to the Philippians.  Let me read you a little background on the church at Philippi.  Octavia, known as Augustus, converted the city into a colony and a military outpost.  This granted the citizens at Philippi the right to be autonomous and self-governing.  It also entitled them to certain privileges, such as exemption from taxes.  So Paul, when he wrote these words and said your citizenship is in heaven was writing to people that already understood what it was like to have privileges as a result of living in a special city.  So Paul uses imagery from their background that they would understand.  So Paul is saying in the same way, just as your citizenship in Philippi gives you certain privileges your citizenship in heaven gives you the same privileges.

In 30 B.C. Octavia forced some in Italy, there’s Italy there towards the left, and Philippi is further east in that second circle on the right there.  In 30 B.C. Octavia forced some in Italy to leave their homes and migrate to Philippi. These migrants did this in exchange for what is called the Italic right, which allowed them to live in Philippi but still be treated as citizens of Italy.  All of this furnishes an appropriate background for understanding Paul’s emphasis upon spiritual citizenship throughout the letter.

So these folks were familiar with the idea of the Italic right; backing up for just a minute, it means they were, because they migrated the way Caesar wanted them to, they were citizens of both areas, Philippi and Italy.  So Paul says to this audience that understood this concept of dual citizenship, in the same way our citizenship is on the earth, we are all citizens of different countries but we’re dual citizens in the sense that our ultimate citizenship resides in heaven.  So it’s interesting to me that Paul is using imagery that they would be accustomed to when he develops these spiritual concepts.

Last time we made a quick hint at the Dejure/defacto distinction.  Those are fancy words but

Dejure means legal, and defacto means in fact.  So what Paul is doing here is he’s drawing a Dejure/defacto distinction.  He’s saying legally our citizenship is in heaven.  Are we in heaven yet though?  pronto?  No, defacto, factually we’re still here on the earth.  So they would understand this with the Italic right that they had and other things.

So legally where are we right now?  Legally we’re in heaven, our citizenship is in heaven.  In fact, legally speaking, according to the book of Ephesians, chapter 2 and verse 6 we are actually seated with Christ in the heavenly places.  [Ephesians 2:6, “and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”]  That’s legally where we are.  We don’t look like it, we don’t feel like it sometimes, but it’s a positional truth the Bible reveals about us.

Ephesians 2:6 he says He “raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places with Christ Jesus.”  So legally that’s where my hope is, legally that’s where my identity is, legally that’s where my citizenship is but factually I’m still here on the earth.  And that’s why we, in the New Testament, are called ambassadors for Christ.

Over in 2 Corinthians 5:20 you’ll see Paul use that expression, “ambassadors.”  It says, “Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us.”  So what is an ambassador? If I’m, let’s say, America’s ambassador to Iran I would represent American values on Iranian soil.  So I would be representing America and what America was founded on and what America stands for in, like free speech, our Constitution, unalienable rights, and things like that, in  a host culture that doesn’t understand those things  or even respect those things.  So in the same way we are ambassadors for Christ in the sense that we emulate heavenly values in a world system that’s hostile to those heavenly values because Satan is still the prince and power of the air.

And this is why the New Testament calls us “sons.”  For example, in Matthew 13:38 we are called sons of the Kingdom.  [Matthew 13:38, “and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one.”]  And that’s why the book of Hebrews, chapter 12, verse 5 and verse 7 calls us sons.  [Hebrews 12:5, “And you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, ‘MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD….”  Verse 7, “It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?”]

And the key term, or the key verse in all of this is Galatians 4:7, which says, “If a son, then a” what?  Anybody know?  Somebody said it.  “If a son, then an heir.”  Take a look at Galatians 4:7 just for a moment.  Galatians 4:7 says, “Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.”  So we are sons of the coming kingdom in the sense that we’re not in the kingdom and we’re not in heaven yet but we’re destined for it and we’re actually citizens of it now but we still live on foreign soil.  And so our calling is to represent godly values, Christian values, heavenly values, on Satan’s turf.  Once you understand our citizenship is in heaven then all this imagery about being a son and being an ambassador starts to make sense.

So we’re representing heavenly values here.  And so to a very large extent we are dual citizens.  I’m a citizen of the United States of America, I have a passport, I love the United States of America but the fact of the matter is, my ultimate citizenship is in heaven.  I’m not on planet earth to fight for America although that’s part of my duty as a citizen of America it’s not my ultimate calling.  My ultimate calling is to represent heaven and what heaven represents in the here and now.

And I think this is important because one of the things (and I’ve been guilty of this myself) is I’ve gotten my citizenship confused a lot of times.  I’ve gotten so upset over the, what to me looks like the collapse of American, you know, as you look at our political process and  you look at the two frontrunners, they, in my humble opinion, both of them don’t really offer much in terms of biblical values, and so it’s easy to become despondent when you look at, you know, sort of the downward slide of America.  And it is tragic but at the same time it’s not something, while it should cause us concern it’s not something that destroys our hope because our citizenship is in heaven, ultimately!  So that’s one of the great pieces of wealth that we have.  We have citizenship in heaven.

And let me take you to a second piece of wealth that we have and that’s the fact that we are membership in a priesthood.  Take a look first at 1 Peter 2:5-9.  I used to use this verse all of the time to prove that we are members of a priesthood, and I want to sort of explain to you why I no longer  use this verse in that way.  I use another verse that I think is clearer.  But 1 Peter 2:5-9 says, “you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. [6] For this is contained in Scripture: ‘BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone,  AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”  [7] This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, ‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,” and then verse 8, and “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE;” for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.”

Now here’s the key verse, verse 9, “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”  So you’ll see there that it says that we are a priesthood, “a royal PRIESTHOOD.”  So I used to use that verse to prove that we, as God’s people are, today, a priesthood.  The problem with using the verse that way is when you go back to 1 Peter 1:1 it says, “To those who reside as aliens, scattered….”  Now the word for scattered there is the diaspora, and when you study out that word scattered in the New Testament you’ll find that it’s only used of Jewish people.

For example, it’s used that way in the book of James. It says, “To the twelve” what? “tribes who are dispersed” that’s the word diaspora, or scattered.  [James 1:1, “James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.”]  So 1 Peter really wasn’t written to the church as a whole; not that we can’t apply it but it really was not written to the church at large.  In fact, 1 Peter never says “to the church of,” “to the churches of” the way you read in so many New Testament letters.  1 Peter, on the other hand was written to Jewish Christians and when you go back and you study these expressions in chapter 2, verse 9, “a chosen race,” “a holy nation,” and “a people” what you’ll discover is those are all singular nouns, they are not plural.  So is the church a race?  No, we consist of many races.  Is the church a nation?  No, we consist of many nations.  Is the church a people?  No, we consist of many peoples.

So all of that to say that Peter, I think, is not writing to the church as a whole.  Peter is writing to Hebrew Christians; he’s dealing with issues that Hebrew or Jewish Christians would struggle with.  Not that we can’t apply truth from1 Peter to our lives.  And there are six books in the New Testament that are special in the sense that their audience is very narrow; they are written to Hebrew Christians to answer Jewish questions.

Peter was the apostle to the who? To the Jews.  Galatians 2:7-9.  [Galatians 2:1-9, “But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised [8] (for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles), [9] and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.”]

So James is one of those letters, that’s why James 1:1 says “To the twelve tribes,” it sounds kind of Jewish, doesn’t it.  Peter, the apostle to the Jews, wrote two of those letters, 1 Peter and 2 Peter.  I’ll throw Jude into the mix because Jude sounds a lot like 2 Peter, and what other book would I throw into the mix; the title gives it away.  Hebrews, which is the book my wife quotes when she wants me to make coffee in the morning, she says it says “He brews” and not “she brews.”  So she has biblical authority for the man making the coffee.

But Hebrews was also written to Hebrew Christians.  Now of the four Gospels which one was written to Hebrew Christians, Matthew, Mark, Luke or John?  Matthew.  You’ll find it in the genealogy of Christ; Christ’s genealogy goes back to David and then Abraham.  And Luke’s, Luke 3, Christ’s genealogy goes back to Adam.   So you can see there’s a distinction; one is written for more of a Jewish focus, one is written for more of a Gentile focus.  And there was some ceremonial washing of hands that goes on in Matthew 15.  Mark 7 records the ceremonial washing of hands but it explains it as a custom to the Jew.  So Matthew leaves it unexplained, Mark explains it.  Why would Matthew leave it unexplained but Mark would explain it.  Well the answer is Matthew is written to a Jewish audience that already understands the custom so to explain it anew would be redundant.  Mark, on the other hand, is written to a Gentile Christian audience that wouldn’t understand the custom so it has to be explained.

So all of that to say we just have to be very careful how we use those six books because when you really get into why those books were written, they’re written really to answer questions that early Christians had who happened to be of the physical lineage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Again, I’m not saying we can’t apply things from those books to our lives but when you get to the audience analysis level, which is the first thing you do as a Bible student, you have to ask who was this written to.

All of that is sort of a long way of saying I don’t really use any longer 1 Peter 2:9 to prove that we are a priesthood.  [1 Peter 2:9, “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light:”]   Rather, what I like to use is the book of Revelation, chapter 1 and verse 6.  Revelation was written to the seven churches of Asia Minor, a Gentile audience, and notice what it says, “and He has made us to be a kingdom,” of what? “priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”  So you’ll notice right there very clearly that one of the pieces of wealth that we have as New Testament saints is God has made us into a kingdom of priests.  That’s our standing before Him.

Now people look at that and they say aha, “a kingdom of priests,” that means we’re in the kingdom now, right?  No, look over at Revelation 5:10 because it unfolds the meaning of “kingdom of priests.”  It says, “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God;” notice what it says, “and they will reign,” it doesn’t say we’re reigning now, it says we “will reign” and where are we going to reign, “upon the earth.”   So that’s speaking of the future earthly kingdom when we, as this “kingdom of priests” are going to reign alongside Jesus Christ.  So even though we’re not yet in the kingdom and we’re not yet reigning because actually the church today is being persecuted around the world, not reigning, we are still given this title or this position as part of our identity, “a kingdom of priests.”

So you may not feel like a priest, you may not look like a priest, you may not act like a priest but the fact of the matter is, the Bible says you’re a priest.  So every Christian is part of this royal priesthood.  And you see how different we are than the nation of Israel.  Under the Old Testament, under the nation of Israel the priest could only… could anybody be a priest?  No, you had to come from which tribe?  Levi.  And if you wanted to be a king you had to come from Judah.  And even the priests couldn’t just come from Levi, they had to be a descendant of who?  Aaron. So you had to be of Aaronic lineage and also a Levite; a Levite first, Aaronic lineage second and you could be a priest and you were given special privileges as a priest.  And how different it is in the church where all of us are priests.

Here’s what a priest looked like in the Old Testament; there’s Aaron with his robe on and all of the accouterments that went with that.   And that sort of gives us the imagery of what a priest is.  What basically was a priest?  A priest was an ambassador or an intermediary between God and man; that’s what a priest is.  So a priest represented God before man.  That’s why God is so angry when the priests of the Old Testament became corrupt; they weren’t representing Him properly.  That’s why Jesus is so mad when they took the temple and turned it into,  you know, the first colony mall, so to speak, and commercialized the whole thing.

So a priest represented God before man and a priest represented man before God.  So that basically is our standing in God.  We’re priests as we’re out there in the work place, or in the family, amongst unsaved co-workers and friends and family, we are representatives of God as priests.  And then we have the privilege of representing them before God, through intercessory prayer.  So it’s this tremendous standing that we have as God’s people as this kingdom of priests.

And then another piece of wealth that we have is that we are engaged, soon to be married.  So we are like a bride or a woman spoken for.  And of course, we won’t read the whole chapter, all of those verses but the whole thing is spelled out there in Ephesians 5:22-33 where the church is analogized to Christ’s what?  Bride, the wife.  And then the husband, or groom, is analogized to Jesus Himself.  So we are the bride of Christ.  And over in the book of Revelation, chapter 19:7 you see the same sort of thing.

[Ephesians 5:22-33, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. [23] For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. [24]  But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. [25] Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, [26] so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, [27] that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. [28] So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; [29] for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, [30] because we are members of His body.[31] FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. [32] This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. [33] Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband. “

So you think of the passion that the groom has for the bride; that’s the passion that our Lord has for us as His bride.  Revelation 19:7 kind of ads to this imagery, it says, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride” that would be us “has made herself ready.”

So in the ancient world, in Jewish times, when the Bible was written there was something called the betrothal period where there was a time period where the bride and groom separated.  The groom, as I’ll explain to you in just a minute, went back to the father’s house to prepare the bridal chamber.  And the bride was to live as if she was a woman spoken for in his absence.  That’s the whole significance of a woman when she walks down the aisle, and a wedding ceremony has that white dress on.  White would indicate what?  Purity, she’s basically saying I’ve kept myself pure for my future husband, that’s the whole symbolism for the white dress.   And this is why, when you go over to Matthew 1:18-20 where Joseph, who was engaged to Mary, and Mary still being a virgin, Joseph discovers that Mary is pregnant.

Matthew 1:18-20 says, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together” and “before they came together” meaning while she was still a virgin, “before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. [19] And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. [20] But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.’”  And it goes on and it gives prophecies about the child that’s inside of her.

So you can see how upset Joseph would become, right?  All of a sudden the woman he’s engage to is pregnant and he’s going to ask her for an explanation and what’s she going to say?    Well, the Holy Spirit did that to me.  What man is going to believe that?  So Gabriel has to be dispatched from heaven to calm Joseph down because this was a deal killer right then and there because she had failed the test (in his eyes) of the betrothal period where the two separate and she is to keep herself pure for him; he is to keep himself pure for her as sort of a testing period.

So when you start to understand this you start to understand who we are as Christ’s bride; we are currently not yet married but we are engaged and we are separated from Him, although the Holy Spirit lives inside of us the groom is physically separated from us and that happened once He ascended back to the Father’s house.  And so what are we supposed to do?  We are supposed to keep ourselves pure for Him.

And this is why the book of James, chapter 4 and verse 4 refers to the sinful people in the book in the book of James as adulterers.  The whole idea there in James 4:4 is the audience had fallen in love with the world; they had become worldly and James calls it, he actually uses the word “adultery” to describe their spiritual condition.  So notice James 4:4, James says, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”  So this audience had become worldly as Christians and James calls them out and basically uses the expression adulteresses to explain their condition because they’re just like a woman who is betrothed to a man who has decided to go out and “play the field.”

2 Corinthians 11:2-3 this imagery comes out very clearly here, Paul says to the Corinthians, “For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband,” so Paul, sort of acted like he was the best man who gave the bride away to the groom, the bride being the Corinthian church the groom being Jesus Christ.  “For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy, for I betrothed you to one husband so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.  [3] But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds will be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”  See what Paul is doing here is he’s functioning as the dad would of the daughter.  He’s standing guard over his virgin daughter to keep the wrong type of man away from her so that her virginity can be protected for her husband of God’s choosing.  And that’s sort of what Paul is saying here.  He’s got his shotgun out to keep the creeps away, in other words.  And the whole analogy starts to make sense when you understand that the church’s position is like a woman spoken for.

So this may help; here are the steps of a Hebrew  Jewish wedding.  There’s ten steps.  Number 1, the groom initiated; the covenant was established upon payment for the bride, in other words the groom paid the purchase price to the bride’s father to procure the bride, and the two drank from the same cup.  Then number 2, the bride was set apart exclusively for the groom; she was a woman spoken for.  Then number 3, the groom separated from the bride and returns to his father’s house to prepare the bridal chamber.  And then number 4, during this time period where the groom and the bride were separated, this was the betrothal period where there was the loyalty test to determine if the two were going to be loyal to each other prior to their wedding, during this time of separation.  Then the groom would return at an unknown time by a shout preceded with escorts to retrieve the bride.

Then the two of them would be hidden in the Father’s house for seven days, where three events would happen.  Number 1, the bride would undergo ritual cleansing prior to the ceremony.  Number 2, there would be a meeting as the couple would meet the father’s assembled guests and there would be a private ceremony.  And then number 3, the bride and groom would consummate the marriage.  And then finally at the end the couple would emerge and be presented to the world as formally Mr. and Mrs.  The bride at this point would be unveiled; she’s been veiled up to this point in time.  And there’s a giant feast.

Now if you look at those steps you’ll see that’s exactly the program that God has us on right now.  Number 1, the groom paid a covenant price for the bride, that’s the death of Jesus.  And as the two drank from the same cup to celebrate this new contract, that’s what we’re doing at communion.  Number two, the bride is set apart exclusively for the groom, so that’s why the church is called sanctified; it’s set apart for Jesus.

Number 3, the groom separates from the bride and returns to his father’s house to prepare the bridal chambers.  That’s John 14:2, where Jesus says, “In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it weren’t so I would have told you, for I go to prepare a place for you.”  So this is speaking of after the ascension of Christ; Christ is separated from the church for about 2,000 years and He’s in heaven preparing the bridal chamber.  And then where we are at today is number 4, we’re in the betrothal period where our loyalty is being tested.    I don’t think a failure of a test undoes our salvation but it damages the intimacy that God wants to have with us.  And so we today, as a woman spoken for, determine our loyalty to Him through two ways: orthodoxy, correct belief, and orthopraxy, correct practice.  So that’s our position and what we’re to be involved in in this time of separation.

Then the groom is going to return at an unknown time preceded by a shout with escorts to retrieve the bride and which event would that be?  The rapture, that’s John 14:3.  [“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”]  Then the bride and the groom are in heaven, in the Father’s house, that’s the church being hidden away in heaven with Jesus for the course of the seven year tribulation period.  Then the bride is cleansed, the bride undergoes ritual cleansing prior to the wedding ceremony, that’s the judgment of rewards that we receive in heaven where our works are tried to ascertain their quality and we are either given rewards or not given rewards based on our loyalty to Christ during the betrothal period.

Then there is the actual wedding ceremony with the meeting with the father’s assembled wedding guests, a private ceremony, and that’s when we’re in heaven I believe meeting Old Testament saints.  And then there’s the consummation where the bride and groom consummate the marriage, that’s Ephesians 5:27 where we are with Him.  [Ephesians 5:27, “that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.”]

And then there is the marriage feast where there’s a public presentation of the bride, the bride is unveiled and there’s a marriage feast on the earth.  That’s Revelation 19:9.  [Revelation 19:9, “Then he said to me, ‘Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he said to me, “’These are true words of God.’”]

So Christ, who is now hidden, will be fully unveiled; we, as His bride will be fully unveiled and we will be there with Him, ruling and reigning with Him in the millennial kingdom.  So it is quite interesting to understand that every step that we go through as members of His church has some kind of parallel with this Hebrew wedding sequence and what I want  us to understand is that we’re currently in step four, where we are in this betrothal period, where we are to demonstrate our loyalty to Him rather than dating other people, sleeping around, as you would not expect a bride to do.  We are not to date around, sleep around, you know, with the world; we’re to be unworldly and when we fall in love with the world the Bible calls us adulteresses.  And that is our position, we’re a woman spoken for and we’re to pass this loyalty test; I don’t think it undoes our salvation if we fail the test but it damages our intimacy with Christ.  And we’re to remain pure to Him in terms of orthodoxy and orthopraxy.  So another piece of wealth that we have, which is phenomenal, is the fact that we are positionally engaged and soon to be married so we’re to act like it.

Another piece of wealth that we have is an inheritance.  Take a look, if you could, at Colossians 1:12-13, it says, “giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. [13] For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,” so what has happened is my identity has shifted from the world to the coming kingdom.  So the kingdom which is coming is my inheritance.  And here again we see, just like our heavenly citizenship, the defacto/dejury distinction.  What exactly is an inheritance?  An inheritance is something that’s legally yours.  You own it, but you’re not currently possessing it. You’re not currently enjoying it but it’s yours; it’s in the will or the trust, it’s coming your direction.  If the legal system were trying to analyze who owns it, it would be you because it’s in  your name but you have to wait for someone to die for you to enjoy and experience that inheritance.

So that basically is what we  have with this concept of this inheritance.  Legally it’s ours and our inheritance is in the coming kingdom and in heaven with Jesus Christ.  Legally it’s ours, there’s nothing that can derail it, but factually we’re not yet there yet in heaven.  See that?

So this inheritance is such a sure thing that, notice 1 Peter 1:4, notice what 1 Peter 1:4 says about it.

1 Peter 1:4 says, “to obtain an inheritance” now notice I’m defining inheritance not just in Peter but also in Paul, “to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,”  So legally this inheritance was ours, we’re not yet enjoying it; it’s ours dejury, legally, but not defacto yet.  So how do we know we’re going to get it?  I mean how do we know thieves won’t break in and steal it?  How do we know inflation won’t corrode its value?  Well, because the Bible promises that it’s being kept in heaven securely for us.  It’s imperishable, it’s undefiled, it will not fade away, it will be reserved in heaven for you.

In other words, a bank failure can’t damage your inheritance, inflation can’t damage your inheritance, a white collar criminal can’t damage your inheritance.  The Bible says it’s a sure thing.  And this is why Jesus makes some of the statements that He makes.  For example over in Matthew 6:19-20, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. [20] But store up for yourselves treasures” where? “in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal.”  So the inheritance that’s legally coming our direction, although we’re not yet possessing or enjoying it, it’s something that can’t be altered because God promises us that it’s ours.

Now one of the things that’s important to distinguish is the difference between an inheritance and a reward; those are two different things.  And for many years I merged these ideas in my mind, I thought they were one and the same but they are not.  An inheritance is a gift that all believers possess.  A reward, on the other hand, is something that only some believers will possess based on what?  Faithfulness now.  The basis of receiving a gift, like an inheritance, is you just become a child of God.  Once you become a child of God your inheritance is yours.  But a reward is based on the faithfulness of the child of God.  With a gift, like an inheritance, there’s no contingency, meaning there’s nothing you can do to undo it.  But with a reward some will be given rewards and some will  not; there’s a contingency built into it based on my faithfulness to God during the betrothal period here and now.

An example of a gift would be an inheritance; an example of a reward would be a crown.  Some Scriptures that describe an inheritance are the two that we read earlier, Colossians 1:12, 1 Peter 1:4.  But there’s other Scriptures that talk about rewards, some receiving, some not.  Some of these verses we’ve already gone over in this class, like 1 Corinthians 3:15, it’s not talking about an inheritance, it’s talking about a reward.  It says, “If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”  So there’s a person receiving an inheritance but not a full reward because they mismanaged their Christian life in the here and now.

Paul, over in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 says, “I buffet my body, I make it my slave, lest I preach to others I might be disqualified for the prize.”  [1 Corinthians 9:24, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. [25] Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. [26] Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; [27] but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified”]

That’s not talking about salvation.  Why is that?  Because if that’s talking about salvation Paul just contradicted everything he ever taught about salvation.  Paul has always taught salvation is by grace through faith alone.  It’s not given on the basis of buffeting your body and making it your slave.  So what prize is he talking about here?  He’s talking about a reward, not his inheritance.

2 John 1:8 very strongly says, “Watch yourselves that you do not lose what you have accomplished but you may receive a full reward.”  That’s not talking about his inheritance, that’s talking about a reward.   Revelation 3:11, Jesus speaking to the church at Philadelphia says, “’I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.”  So there he’s talking about the contingency of a reward; he’s not talking about an inheritance which nothing can take away.  So when we get into the subject of inheritance it’s important to make a distinction, biblically, between an inheritance on one end of the stick and a reward on the other end of the stick.

And then just one more piece of wealth that we have and that will wrap up all of our material on the results of salvation is we have peace with God… peace with God.  Now for me to have peace with God presupposes that before I trusted in Christ I didn’t have peace with God.  I was what? At war with God.  See, I can’t really appreciate the fact that I have peace with God now until I understand that my state in Adam, prior to trusting in Christ I was actually at war with God.  And you know, these are depressing verses but many, many verses speak of the terrible plight unbelievers are in.

John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”  Wow!  Aren’t you glad today that the wrath of God is not abiding on you?

Romans 1:18, Paul says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,”  So God’s wrath is kindled against the world that doesn’t know Christ.

Romans 5:10 actually tells us that before we came to Christ we were God’s enemies.  “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son,…” notice that before I was reconciled to God I was His enemy, positionally.   See, these politicians and everybody they get up and say we’re all God’s children.  No we’re not! We’re all His creation, but if you don’t know His Son you’re actually His enemy.

Romans 8:7 says, “because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, [8] and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

Romans 12:19, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,’ says the Lord.”  See, someone’s got to pay for our sin and if it’s not going to be Christ it’s going to be us throughout all eternity.

Ephesians 5:6 says, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”

1 Thessalonians 1:7 says when Christ comes back, “and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, [8] dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.”

And then Revelation 6, I know these verses are depressing but we can’t appreciate the peace we have with Him until we understand what it was like before we had this peace.  Revelation 6:16 says, end of the verse, “…from the wrath of the Lamb; [17] for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”  However, the moment I trust in Christ because my sin debt has now been paid for I now have peace with God.  Romans 5:1, this is part of our wealth, peace with God, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 8:1, which you probably know, it says for there is no what? “condemnation, for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  [Romans 8:1, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”]

Now the word for “peace” in Greek is Eirēnē and what English word do we get from that?  Irenic, if someone is irenic they’re considered a peaceful person.  It’s the opposite of being a polemical person; polemos means war in Greek so if you’re polemical you’re considered warlike, and if you’re peaceful you’re considered irenic.  That’s the word, Eirēnē, peace.   Actually a girl’s name can be Irene, which comes from that name, Eirēnē, peaceful.

And the basis of the peace that we have with God is the salvation words.  Now you might recall earlier in the course we went over the salvation words: redemption, which is payment of a purchase price or release from bondage.  Reconciliation, a change of relationship from one of hostility to one of peace. Expiation, removal of sin’s eternal penalty. Propitiation, satisfaction of divine wrath.  Imputation, Christ’s righteousness is transferred to us at the point of faith.

Those are glorious salvation words, each highlighting a different nuance of our salvation.  But it’s those words and their meaning to us in Christ that gives us peace with God.  So the gospel is free to us but it cost Jesus, the Second member of the Trinity everything, because of what He did we now have peace with God.  And therefore the only attribute left for God to express towards  you is love.  He is no longer expressing wrath towards you because your wrath has been paid for by what Jesus did.  And this is important because a lot of people out there think God is mad at them; God’s angry with them.  And why do they think that?  Because they were raised in a dysfunctional family where their earthly father was angry at them all the time.

So what we do is we transfer that to God and we always think God is really mad at us.  And if you understand this piece of wealth that we have, eirēnē, peace with God, you understand that God is not mad at  you.  And even when difficulties come into your life it’s not designed to make you bitter but it’s designed to make you what?  Better.  “For whom the Lord loves the Lord” what? “disciplines,” God doesn’t exert His wrath on us, what He does is He disciplines us, just like you would discipline a child when they run into the street without looking, because the next time the child thinks about running into the street without looking they’ll associate the act of rebellion with the pain of discipline, they won’t run into the street without looking and their life is spared.  So discipline is not wrath; discipline is love.  So the only thing that God could express towards you, since you have peace with Him, is love, sometimes it comes in the form of a trial which is designed to mold our character; sometimes it comes in the form of discipline.  But God is not angry at anybody that’s “in Christ.”  The person God is angry at is the unsaved person that has never trusted in Christ.  So what I’ve just articulated there is positional peace.

Peace has one  more dimension to it and I’ll briefly explain this and then I’ll conclude.  But we also have the capacity for experiential peace.  Positional peace is yours but we have the potential for experiential peace.  Notice Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for” what? “nothing,” it doesn’t say be anxious for almost nothing, except the sale of your house or whatever; it says, “Be anxious for nothing.”  Well what about the Presidential election Lord, I’m real worried about the state of America… “be anxious for nothing”!  “Be anxious for nothing but in everything by” what? “prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to” what? “to God.”  So things that are causing us anxiety we’re to offer those to God in prayer and ask for Him to supply the need.  And what will happen?  This is conditional, [7] “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard” that’s a military term, “your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Notice it’s called a “peace…which surpasses all comprehension” because the world doesn’t understand it, because the world thinks peace internally comes from favorable circumstances.  As long as my health is good, my doctor’s report is good, my 401K is good, I have security in the world I can be at peace, but we all know in a fallen world those things can disappear quick, can’t they.  Money can disappear, security can disappear, economies can go south, job layoffs can happen, and so if your peace is based on external things then  you become fearful and peace disappears.  But the peace that the Christian is given the privilege of experiencing moment by moment is independent of circumstances because you can take your circumstances, no matter how big they are, and present them to God.  And when we do that and trust Him He promises to give us tranquility.

This is why Jesus said in John 14:27 in the Upper Room Discourse, a tremendous thing he says there, John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your heart be troubled, not let it be fearful.”  In other words, He doesn’t give peace the way the world gives it; the world gives peace based on external favorable circumstances.  Jesus promises peace independent of circumstances.

And by the way, the people He was speaking to is eleven disciples, every single one of them was going to be martyred except for John who is the only one that we know of that died of natural causes and they tried to martyr John, according to certain traditions, they tried to boil him in oil and the son of a gun wouldn’t die so they just put him out on this island called Patmos.  And that was God’s plan because he was going to receive which book of the Bible on that island?  The book of Revelation.  So in this whole context of martyrdom, which is evident, Jesus says I don’t give peace the way the world gives it.  That’s why Peter could be crucified upside down and all of these exploits these people could accomplish because they had the peace of God which transcends all understanding.

One of my favorite scenes in the whole Bible is the storm that comes up on the Sea of Galilee as the disciples are in the fishing boat, Matthew 8:23-27, and what is Jesus doing?  Sleeping.  That just cracks me up.  I mean, these guys are just freaked out.  Then they say don’t  You care, Lord, we’re drowning, he’s just sound asleep, sawing logs.  [Matthew 28:23-27, “When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. [24] And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. [25] And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, ‘Save us, Lord; we are perishing!’ [26]He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. [27] The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”]

Now let me ask you a question: where does Jesus live right now?  Inside of you through the Holy Spirit.  Galatians 2:20 Paul says, “for it is no longer I who live, but” what?  “Christ lives in me;” you mean the same Jesus that’s sound asleep in the midst of a storm is residing inside of you and inside of me?  Yeah, that’s what we’re saying.  So therefore, because of who  you’re connected to you have the ability to tap into peace independent of circumstances.  So that’s just tremendous, isn’t it?

So peace has two levels to it, positional peace and then this capacity we have for experiential peace.  The problem with us, though, is we don’t turn our problems over to God real fast, do we?  We like to figure them out ourselves and then finally we can’t figure them out and we say I guess I’d better pray about it.  And God is saying you should have prayed the whole time; I could have saved you a lot of anxiety if you’d just come to me first.   So I hope you realize you’re rich; I hope you realize your heavenly citizenship, your status as a priest, your status as a woman spoken for, your inheritance that’s coming, and the peace you have with God, both positionally and experientially.   And that wraps up our results of salvation and next time we convene we will look at the whole issue of eternal security.  So I will stop talking ab this point and let people if they need to go pick up their children and if you all have any questions we can open up the floor for that.