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STUDY FIFTEEN

Grace

A Study in Scriptural Integrity:

The Eyes of Our Understanding Enlightened

To whom Scripture is addressed.


It is necessary in understanding Scripture to be aware of "to whom" any particular segment is addressed to.

In this study we will attempt to portray the place a Christian has in Biblical prophesy. We will also attempt to find the advantage a Christian has over the non-Christian in understanding the intent of Scripture. We will utilize these advantages as well in our efforts before God to receive His Word.

It is essential to understand God's original purpose in creating man. If you believe God wants you to be ignorant of many things, if you believe that there are many things we can see but cannot understand, we will defeat our purpose before we get started.

"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

"And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."

Gen. 1:26-28

We see in this section that God created an enabled man, a man that was blessed, and competent, and able to rule, and who was in God's image.

The image of God is what? Spirit. A blessed, competent, enabled man or woman has spirit. But Adam sinned, and died the day thereof. He lost his spirit.

This was not God's will, though, it was man's choice. And when man lost his spirit, he lost the blessedness, the enablements, and much of the competency. He was no longer in the image of God.

Dead In Sins

"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;"

Eph 2:1

You, without Christ, were dead. How? Spiritually.

"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

"(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

"Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

"But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many."

Rom. 5:12-15

When Adam sinned, man died.

How? One way was that the seeds of physical death were planted. Adam, and those descended of his seed, would have a finite lifetime.

A second way was that they would be holden to a permanent state of non-existence, called "the second death" at the end time Revelations 20:14. When we as Christians are given eternal life, we are freed of this “second death.”

But the immediate consequence of Adam's sin was death, "in the day" he sinned.

He lost his spiritual connection.

He became a man confined to the physical realm of body and soul. Body is, of course, the physical part, the flesh. Organs, muscles, glands, bones, tissues, and blood.

Soul, however, is the physical life. In the Hebrew it is "nephesh," in the Greek it is "psueche."

It is the life that comes with each breath.

"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."

Gen. 2:7

This life was not what was lost "in the day" Adam sinned.

"Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.

"And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image; and called his name Seth:

"And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters:

"And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died."

Gen. 5:2-5

Adam was created, then sinned before siring Seth. He was only one hundred and thirty when Seth was born, and lived another eight hundred years. His soul went on, but spiritually he was dead the whole time after sinning, as were we even upon birth.

When Adam died the day he sinned, he died spiritually. Several centuries later, his body caught up to the fact. He had been designed a three part being, body, soul, and spirit. Three part man was indefinitely sustainable.

Two part man, man of body and soul, is not. Adam lived so long because his remaining aspects, body and soul, were closer to the original "technology" of life God made and formed him with. His body, formed of dust (elements) was still in near-showroom condition. Over the centuries, as random factors allowed by sin tampered with the genetics, man lived fewer and fewer years.

But Adam was still top of the line. And his genetic tendencies were still in fairly good shape.

However, the created part of man, the part in God's image, poof. Gone. No mas, senor.

Adam had become "natural man."

"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

I Cor 2:14

It does not say that the natural man does not receive the things of God because God does not want him to know. It says that the natural man cannot receive because they are spiritually discerned, and spiritually, the natural man is dead.

Is there a “spirit” of man? Yes. But it is a dead spirit, a spirit without the life of God, that cannot receive the things of God. It is called “spirit” because it is a form of life, but spirit life, like God, angels or demons it is not. Natural Man has no true spirit life.

Thus the things of God are foolishness to the natural man; the things of God appear not to make sense, and so man teaches for doctrines of God the most contradictory and illogical doctrines.

These illogical and contradictory doctrines that man, natural man, blames on God are called "mysteries." Calling something a "mystery," saying it is beyond man's scope, justifies the foolishness of man and delegates a label of foolishness on the logic and precision of God.

But man, without spirit, is limited in understanding spiritual things the way a blind man would be unable to appreciate the fullness of a great painting. It could be described to him, the way God has been described to natural man over the millennium.

"No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."

John 1:18

Jesus had the Holy Spirit of God his Father upon him, and thus could receive the things of the spirit. Thus, Jesus, whom being a man who could be seen and heard, declared the things of an unseen God to men who were spiritually dead.

Alive in Christ

"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

"And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness."

Romans 8:9&10

Once you are in Christ, you are no more dead, but alive. You can now receive the things of God.

"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

"Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

"Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

"Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

"And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

"That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

"Not of works, lest any man should boast."

Eph. 2:1-9

We started out dead, as natural men. We were men and women of body and soul. Therefore, walking without the spirit of God, we walked entirely by our senses, by the world.

But God quickened us, made us alive. Why? He made us alive so that in the ages to come He might shew us the exceeding riches of His grace to us in Christ.

He wants us to know.

This is why this age is called “the age of grace.” It reveals a period of the extreme grace of God to upward, demonstrated by the outpouring of holy spirit, the gift of grace.

If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

“How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,

“Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

“Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

“That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Eph. 3:2-6

The word “dispensation” in verse 2 is the word “oikanomia,” and means “administration. The word is used of the administration of a household most commonly, but also of the rule of provinces of a kingdom.

Like the administration of a Presidency, but this is Paul's part in the administration of the Age of Grace Paul is referring to. Think of this whole age as a “province” in the Kingdom of God, and Paul was an administrator, he administered the gospel of the gift of grace through Jesus Christ in his ministry. And his ministry took place and affected the believers in the period of time, the age, of "the grace of God.".

It is also referred to as the time of “the Mystery,” because it was the biggest of God’s secrets, but is now revealed to us. A "mystery" Scripturally is not a secret, rather, it is a revealed truth.

It is the Mystery which will be finished in Revelation:

But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” Rev. 10:7

God will still have secrets, things which we need not and should not yet know. When exactly, on what day and at what hour shall the last trump sound?

It is a secret. But we ourselves, as the children of God, Jews and Gentiles fellow heirs are God’s great Mystery which was kept secret but is now truth revealed, now a mystery. Thus we are the called, the elect, during this period of time this mystery refers to.

It began on the day of Pentecost when the initial outpouring of holy spirit was given, and will be finished at this last trump, when the angels gather together the elect of God. It is the fellowship of the mystery, which in one place is called "the church of God.".

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

“To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

“According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:” Eph. 3:8-12

This grace was unsearchable according to what was revealed in Old Testament Scriptures, but now all men can see the fellowship of this mystery.

Will all men see? No, but that is their choice. They, and we, need not be in the dark any more.

We have the measure, the fullness, of grace.

We do not earn this grace; it is a gift. If we could do a work, a goodness, to earn it or deserve it, we could boast, but it is a gift.

How then do we receive, without earning, this gift, this salvation? How can we receive life, spiritual life, created life?

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

"For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

"For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed."

Rom. 10:9-11

Confess Jesus as Lord, believe God raised him from the dead. That is all it takes to receive.

Do this and you have life. You have the missing part, the part created in the image of God. Can it be this easy? Is there a gimmick? Yes, it is this simple, for this salvation of grace is not of works. And, there are no gimmicks, for those who call upon the Lord shall not be disappointed, or ashamed.

What now?

Spiritual Senses

"And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

"For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

"And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

"And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

"That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."

I Cor. 2:1-5

Paul, sent by Jesus Christ to spread Jesus' message, demonstrated through powerful works the reality and blessings of a loving God and a powerful living Christ. These natural men could not see God.

They could see the works of spirit and power.

Thus, as Christ declared the unseen God through his work and preaching, so did Paul. Paul preached Christ, and miracles happened.

"Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

"But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

"Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory"

I Cor. 2:6-8

Now here is a thing. Once these natural men received salvation, and received a foundation of the truth of God, Paul expounded more unto them.

Our faith stands in the simplicity of Christ, but our works stand in a richer knowledge.

Furthermore, this richer knowledge entails what Paul calls a "mystery."

This mystery, is it a secret that we really can not understand? No, it is something that, until Paul reveals it, has been kept secret, but is now revealed. It is no longer a secret to those who it is told to.

And this mystery is so great, it was kept hidden from the princes of this world, Satan and his minions, lest they would not crucify Jesus and thus allow him to accomplish the purchase of our freedom.

What is this mystery? It is that concerning the Christian, which God revealed to Paul. It is that Jew and Gentile may be joint heirs, part of the same Body of believers, partakers of the promise and thus one in Christ, through this grace of God's salvation through Christ.

"Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

"Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

"That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:"

Eph. 3-4-6

Until the revelation was given to Paul and the other holy apostles and prophets of Christianity, it was hidden, it was a secret. But now we may know. Vine's defines the Greek word used, "musterion," as "truth revealed to the initiates.

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

"But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."

I Cor. 2:9-10

We as Christians are not spoken to in riddles, or in parables as were the Jews of Israel in Christ's time on earth. We are told plainly the deep, the hidden things of God. We have spirit, we are again in the image of God.

And we have the spiritual senses with which to receive them.

"But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake."

I Cor. 4:2-4

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."

Rom. 8:28-29

"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:"

Rom. 8:16

As was Adam, we are three part man. We are now, by grace, and through Christ, children of God.

"For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God."

I Cor. 2:11-12

We have received this spirit so that we might know. Not wonder, not be confused at every turn, but know the things given by God.

It was not God's desire that man might be weak or ignorant. In Christ, this purpose of God is filled.

"Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

"But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

"For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ."

I Cor. 2:13-16

We are no more natural men, for through grace we have received that part which Adam lost.

Therefore we know not to be satisfied with riddles or apparent contradictions, for we know that our God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.

We are children of God.

"Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;

"But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.

"Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

"But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

"To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

"And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

"Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."

Gal. 4:1-7

Sons, and heirs. As Romans 8:17 says, "if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ."

Free From the Law

"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

"For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

Gal.5-13-14

The Scriptures are clear. There are commandments given to natural men, Jews and Gentiles, that do not directly apply to us. We are free from the Law of Moses, and the works for eternal salvation.

But we were not freed to be idle, no, we were freed so that our love works may go beyond what was then available.

We were freed to serve.

The Law was a contract. Do this once, do that twice.

Under a contract, and being natural men, the olden times faithful were busy doing what was required and thus often had difficulty doing what was needed. We are free from that constraint.

And in understanding Scripture, it is imperative to keep in mind that we must be aware of "to whom" any piece of Scripture was addressed to.

To Whom

"And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD's: it is holy unto the LORD.

"And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof.

"And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.

"He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.

"These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai."

Lev. 27-30:34

Was it a commandment of God to tithe? Yes. So should the Christian obey this command? The natural answer is yes.

But first, the tithe was to be given from the seed (crops) of the land, and from the first of the newborn of herds. The tithe was to be given from agricultural products, or from kept herds.

Anything that was an increase from God among crops or livestock was tithed. No commandment was given to tithe of anything else. Even the tithe of Abraham, given to Malchezedik, was from the spoils of war, of the goods of the spoiled cities before he returned it, keeping naught for himself.

This tithe of Abraham was recorded as a one-time event, a token of Abraham’s gratitude.

When the tithe was commanded, this command was for Israel, under the Law we are free from.

Our standard is of need, not of requirement.

And that even only as God Who is in each of us puts it upon our own hearts.

"Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.

"But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

"Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:"

II Cor. 9:5-8

Our standard is "as God purposeth in our heart."

Not because we have to, nor because we "have obligations." But because we honestly respond to a call of God in our own selves, thus we give to ministering of the saints.

Without discerning to whom the tithe was addressed, which were Farmers and husbandmen of the nation of Israel, we place ourselves under the bondage of obligation.

But filled with the newness of spiritual life, and rightly understanding what is commanded of us, we are free to respond to the needs of the ministry as God works in our hearts. Then God is able to cause all grace , every bit of it, to abound toward us, that we may abound not to the required good works, but to every good work!

That is part of the grace of the mystery kept secret but now revealed.

AMEN?

AMEN!

 

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Grace in Giving: Study on "The Tithe"

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