Once again I greet you in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ and ask you to turn your Bibles to Hebrews 3:12-19. Our topic will be justification by faith.
"Beware, brethren, of your own hearts, lest you find unbelief that leads to apostasy from the living God. Exhort and encourage one another daily, while time continues; lest any of you be hardened through the delusive glamour of sin.
For we are partakers of Christ and joint-heirs in everything He has, if we are faithful to the end, trusting God as we did when we first became Christians. NOW is the time, remember the warning: 'To day if you will hear His Voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some Israelites who came out of Egypt by Moses and heard God's Voice rebelled against Him.
And who grieved God for forty years? It was those that had sinned, who died in the wilderness as a result. To whom He swore that they should not enter into His rest in the Promised Land (and therefore the resurrection of the Old Testament saints). It was those who believed not. They refused to trust and obey God, and because of their unbelief, were excluded from the promise of the Covenant".
In last week's study of Sanctification we read in I Corinthians 10 how the whole nation of Israel was justified by faith in following Moses out of Egypt but only two of the adults held that faith firm to the end. Contrary to Baptist theology, "eternal security" isn't found in Justification alone, or those Israelites would not have perished in the wilderness. Justification can't be regeneration or conversion because earth was justified and baptized in the days of Noah. But sin, Ham was in the ark. When men multiplied, so did sin multiply. Now we are live in the days of Christ's "parousia", and the conditions of Noah's day have repeated (as Jesus said they would). So Justification and water baptism is just the first work following the revelation of God's grace.
So long as we maintain the enthusiasm of our first love for Christ in constant obedience to the end we will grow in grace through sanctification and the new birth and share in all He is and has. And be joint-heirs with Him in everything Adam forfeited. Christ's complaint to the Ephesian Church Age was that their love grew cold and they fell-away from the fervency of their first love for the revealed Word and turned to fables.
Paul said, "Nobody is righteous, innocent or justified in himself not one person" (Romans 3:10). Righteousness, Justification, or innocence is imputed by faith. So let us hold faith steadfast to the end. And faith is not something all men have. In fact very few have faith. Faith is "the GIFT of God".
Ephesians 2:8, "By grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God".
It's not that anybody in Adam's race was ever "unsaved". Merely by being an heir of Adam we are born "saved" from our mother's womb. The Bible instructs us that before creation, God by foreknowledge saw Jesus crucified to redeem all whose names were in the Book of Life (Revelation 13:8; I John 1:2). But prior to our first step toward conversion: Justification by grace through faith, we hadn't RECOGNIZED our salvation and our need to lay hold on It. Salvation is by grace through faith. It is a gift. But the vast majority of Adam's race never apprehend that gift to see their salvation.
WITHOUT faith, we had no concept of our relationship with time and eternity. No knowledge of our destiny and the purpose of God, or that His grace has met sin's penalty.
You'll recall the story in Acts 16 wherein Paul and Silas had been beaten, imprisoned, and their feet fastened in stocks. At midnight when they prayed and sang praises to God, there was an earthquake which opened all the prison doors and unfastened the prisoner's chains. Waking to see the doors open, and supposing the prisoners had escaped, the keeper was about to fall on his sword when Paul called out that all were present. Having witnessed the Spirit in these men's lives and His miraculous answer to prayer, the jailer had faith. He asked Paul how he should apply that faith in order to receive his salvation. Paul replied, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your household" (Acts 16:31).
Paul says in Titus 3:5, "We are not saved because of any works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost".
Salvation cannot be earned. If we can be "good enough" then Jesus died in vain. We have no merit of our own. Salvation is wholly by the grace and mercy of God. What we merit or deserve is death. By grace some of us receive the gift of faith to recognize Who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for us. By dying to our carnal and intellectual desires and identifying with Him, we can receive God's mercy.
Faith is simply a clear understanding of the revealed Word of God. Romans 10:17, "Understanding comes by hearing the Word of God".
Hebrews 11:4-6, "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, God's acceptance of his revelation testified that he was righteous, and through it he being dead yet speaks".
(Abel's revelation was confirmed when God vindicated his sacrifice which symbolized his righteousness or agreement with God).
"By faith Enoch was translated without death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God".
(Genesis 5:23-24, "Enoch lived three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch WALKED with God: and he was not; for God took him". Amos 3:3, "Can two WALK together, except they be agreed?" In other words Enoch was in agreement with God, having the mind of Christ).
"But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him".
By faith we see that God exists and we see that it has its reward, proving faith is substance not yet materialized. Like the spoken Word in the third pull.
Faith is worship because by laying aside the ten senses of self we give God preeminence and submit to the rulership of His Word,
God is Just "He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He" (Deuteronomy 32:4).
Therefore if we have faith, which is the mind of Christ (whom God justified in that He raised Him from the dead, and which shows no shadow of turning), we are justified or righteous, upright, being in agreement with God.
How are we justified? By agreeing with God Who is righteous. And like Abraham, calling anything contrary to God's Word as though it were not. Putting Him always before our face and identifying 100% with the Word and walking in His ways.
Romans 4:3-8, "What does Scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness'. Now to him that works, the wages are not reckoned as grace or a gift but as an obligation or debt owed to him.
But to he who doesn't work, but believes on Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted as righteousness. Even as David also described the blessedness of the undeserving man, to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works. Saying, 'Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin'."
We are accounted "not guilty" if we live by faith, or have the mind of Christ.
I John 5:18, "Whosoever is born of God does not sin ... and that wicked one toucheth him not".
Romans 4:5, "..God justifies the ungodly; their faith is accounted as righteousness".
Just as well God justifies the ungodly because we are all born in sin, and none of us has any righteousness of His own. So how can we be justified if we are born in sin? "Justification" means, you never did it. How can we be declared innocent if we're guilty?
The answer is through divorce and marriage.
I Corinthians 11:1-16, "Follow my example as I follow Christ. I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
But I want to remind you that a wife is responsible to her husband who is her head. Her husband is responsible to Christ, and Christ is responsible to God.
A man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonours his head (Christ). But a woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonours her head (her husband): for that's the same as if she were shaved. If the woman does not have uncut hair, let her be shaven: but if it be shameful for a woman to be bald, (for that signified she was an adulteress), let her hair be uncut. A man ought not to cover his head in worship, because as a ruler he is in the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not made from the woman; but the woman from man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
For this cause ought the woman to have the token that she is under the authority of her head, according to the teaching of God's holy prophets. Nevertheless in God's plan men and women are mutually dependent upon one another. For although the first woman was made from man, all subsequent men are born of woman; and both men and women are of God.
You be the Judge: is it right that a woman pray with cut hair? It signifies she's rejected the authority of her husband and Christ. Doesn't even nature teach you, that, if a man has uncut hair, he humiliates himself and defiles the image of God?
But a woman with uncut hair declares her honour: for her hair is given her for a sign that she is under authority. If anyone is contentious on this issue, he is without the common faith, and God is not known by debate".
"The head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man." Woman is not original creation and not being the spoken Word of God but a by-product of man, she is made so she can deceive and be deceived. Satan knew this and that's why he did not attempt to deceive Adam but worked on the woman. And he's been working on her ever since. Adam was not deceived, but Eve being deceived, was in the transgression. Therefore woman is to be under the authority of men and under submission to her own husband.
Ephesians 5:22, 24, "Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord". (A woman serves God as she obeys her husband - Genesis 3:16; I Peter 3:6). "Therefore wives must willingly obey their own husbands in EVERY thing as the church obeys Christ".
The woman is to obey her husband in every thing. Therefore, as she is under his authority, he bears her responsibility. The husband is to love his wife, to care and provide for her necessities, to protect and cherish her, and leaves his parents to devote himself to her care (Ephesians 5:29-31).
Paul is typing the natural with the spiritual and says, "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning the relationship between Christ and the church" (Ephesians 5:32). The Heavenly Bridegroom and the earthly Bride.
Looking at the spiritual marriage our soul is the feminine of God. As Eve was taken from the side of the first Adam when God put him to sleep, the souls of Christ's Bride were taken from His side, in the form of the Holy Spirit, when God put Him to sleep on Calvary.
What is original? Jesus Christ, the beginning of the creation of God, or the Church? Who was deceived and required salvation? Jesus Christ or His Church? The natural types the Spiritual. As a woman seeks a husband or ruler over her, every soul seeks to worship its Lord. It seeks union with God under preeminence. In other words it seeks a husband or ruler over it.
Now let's examine a few Scriptures which confirm that the head of woman is the man, that a woman must obey her husband, and that he is responsible for her welfare.
Numbers 30:1-15, "Moses said to the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Israel, saying, 'This is the thing which the LORD has commanded: If a MAN vows a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself with a pledge, he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.
If a WOMAN vows a vow unto the LORD, and bind herself by a pledge, being in her father's house in her youth; And her father hears her vow, and her pledge with which SHE has bound herself and HE offers no objection: then all her vows shall stand, and every pledge with which she has bound herself shall stand.
(A woman is under the authority of her husband. If she is unmarried, she is under her father's authority, and if he dies, her brother is responsible for her).
But if her father refuses to allow her to carry out her vow on the day that he hears of it; not any of her vows, or of her pledges with which she has bound herself, shall stand: and the LORD shall forgive her, because her father has refused to let her carry out her purpose.
And if she has a husband, when she vows, or has bound herself by a rash utterance, And her husband hears of it, and holds his peace concerning it on the day that he heard it: then her vows shall stand, and her pledge with which she bound herself shall stand.
But if her husband refuses to allow her to keep her vow or pledge on the day that he hears of it; then he shall make void and annul her vow which she vowed, and the rash utterance of her lips, with which she bound herself: and the LORD shall forgive her.
But every vow of a widow, or of a divorced woman, with which she has bound herself, shall stand against her. And if she vowed in her husband's house, or bound herself by a pledge with an oath; And her husband heard it, and did not oppose or prohibit her, then all her vows shall stand, and every bond with which she bound herself shall stand.
But if her husband positively made them void on the day he heard them; then whatsoever proceeded out of her lips concerning her vows, or concerning her pledge of herself, shall not stand: her husband has annulled them; and the LORD shall forgive her.
Her husband may establish or he may annul every vow, and binding oath she has made to humble or afflict herself. But if her husband altogether holds peace concerning the matter with her from day to day, then he establishes and confirms all her vows, or all her pledges, which are upon her: he establishes them, because he said nothing to restrain her on the day that he heard of them.
But if he shall nullify them after he hears them, then he shall be RESPONSIBLE for and bear her iniquity".
The husband is head of his wife and HE bears HER responsibility.
Isaiah 9:6, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the GOVERNMENT (or the rule and responsibility) shall be upon HIS shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace".
"Isaiah 9:6, "And the government shall be upon His shoulder." This phrase comes from the wedding ceremony of the East. When the bride has been committed to the groom she takes off her veil and places it over the groom's shoulders, signifying that not only is she under HIS dominion - that she has transferred HER rights to him - that HE is the head - but also that HE bears the RESPONSIBILITY and the CARE and that HE AND HE ALONE - NO ONE ELSE - NO OTHER MAN - NO OTHER POWER - HAS ANY RIGHT AND RESPONSIBILITY. ... Jesus foreknew by Divine decree exactly who would be in His bride. He chose her. She did not choose Him. He called her. She did not come on her own. He died for her. He washed her in His own blood. He paid the price for her. She belongs to HIM and to Him alone. She is WHOLLY committed to Him and HE accepts the OBLIGATION. He is her head, for Christ is the head of His church. As Sarah called Abraham, Lord, even so the bride is happy that He is her Lord. He speaks and she obeys for that is her delight" (Seven Church Ages, 294:3).
The natural types the spiritual. As a husband is head of his wife and bears her responsibility, Christ the anointed Word is head of the born-again soul or Church, and bears her responsibility. Like the natural woman, our soul was born single. Because of the nature of original sin and because Adam forfeited man's dominion of this world to Satan to redeem his wife, we were all "conceived in sin, shapen in iniquity, and come into the world speaking lies" (Psalms 51:5; 53:3). Though single, we were in male relationship, as the nature of this world, which is under Satan, was ruling our soul.
We were born with our soul "dead in sins ... without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world" (Ephesians 2:5, 12). Our soul was under subjection to the senses of our flesh and mortal spirit that contact the natural world. We were not married but we were in spiritual fornication or idolatry with this first husband, the nature of Satan. He seduced us by worldly pleasures.
In His grace God provided a way out. It's called "divorce".
If there were no divorce, there could be no justification by grace through faith; because every one born of woman is born in sin, and has that worldly nature ruling over their soul. Before conversion, the most noble individual was living in unholy union with Satan.
Here's what Jesus says about marriage: "Wherefore they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder" (Matthew 19:6). But God did not join our soul together with Satan. Therefore man can break or divorce that union just as he can break the natural union of a man and a woman under certain conditions. One such condition that allows the husband to put away his wife is unconfessed fornication.
In Matthew 19:9, Jesus said, "Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, commits adultery: and who ever marries her which is put away commits adultery".
Before we can unite with our new Husband, Christ, we must confess and repent of our previous relationship in fornication with Satan. In answer to a good conscience toward God, or faith, we identify by scriptural water baptism the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Only by obedience to this revelation can we be justified.
Acts 2:38-39 remits past sins (or fornication, which is idolatry). "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (which is the new birth, or spiritual marriage of your soul with the Word). For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call".
God's Word calls for a total separation from unbelief so the first step in grace is separation or spiritual divorcement. All of our past sins are remitted and not charged to our account, but against Satan, who was our "old" man, or first husband.
Do now you see the ungodliness of the women's liberation movement, affirmative action, and "equal opportunities"? Oh the blindness of the denominational world church system, which being without faith, is actually denying the only avenue provided for justification. If the husband is not responsible for the actions of his wife, pray tell me how God can remit the past sins of the unregenerated soul, and declare one Justified by grace through faith? He must balance the books! The debt must be paid somewhere.
Fancy permitting women to vote when they are designed so they can deceive and be deceived. If a woman votes it should be according to her husband's instruction. Sin-loving denominations have taken the husband's responsibility, and made her responsible for her own actions. Thereby, she can never be justified in the natural or in the spiritual but will be forever guilty because she has taken the responsibility. Talk about blind leaders of the blind.
There are three steps or stages of grace through faith. All three are required for conversion or new birth.
Ephesians 4:22-24, "Put off concerning your former behavior the old man (who ruled your soul), which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts (Justification). And be renewed in the spirit of your mind (Sanctification); And put on the new Man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which is the new birth).
Justification just separates you from your old nature placing your past sins on his shoulder. But he's still around, and whilst your soul has heard the Master's call, which is your marriage proposal, you must make yourself ready by learning to serve and please Him. This is called Sanctification - separation from the world and our ideas unto His Word which is His expressed ideas. A woman serves God as she obeys her husband. Finally comes the baptism of the Holy Ghost when God's holy Fire cleanses our soul, killing our old man and uniting with us in an invisible marriage union that no man can put asunder, because we are sealed unto the day of our full physical redemption at the body change.
I Corinthians 7:1-2, 10-11, "It is good for a man to remain a virgin. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband... And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, 'Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife'."
Our soul departed from or divorced our first husband when we were Justified. We had to remain unmarried or be reconciled to our old worldly nature so long as he lived. And Justification is as far as most go who claim to be Christians, Christ's Bride. They remain unmarried, answerable for their spiritual needs, and responsible for their own actions. They keep on repenting, but don't come into oneness with and under Headship to the Word.
Multitudes go back into the world and are LOST. Some progress to Sanctification or holiness but this is still not under Headship by marriage to Christ, the Word. And they can still be LOST.
True Justification is the new birth or baptism of the Holy Ghost and Fire (Matthew 3:11) which unites us with our espoused. But we can not marry Christ whilst our former husband is living. We can't just put him away and take another. He must be dead.
Romans 7:1-4, "Don't you understand brethren, for I speak to you as men who are familiar with the law, how that legal claims have power over a man only so long as he is alive?
For instance, a married woman is bound by the law to her husband so long as he lives; but if her husband dies she is loosed from the laws of marriage. If, while her husband was alive, she married another man, she would be called an adulteress: but if her husband dies, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
Likewise, brethren, you have become dead to your old husband, the Law, being crucified in Christ's body; that you should be married to Another, even Him Who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God".
Christians are accounted crucified in Christ on Calvary. Being foreknown in the Word which was made flesh, we are accounted as having died and therefore beyond the Law, but its ordinances were nailed to His cross and we are dead to the Law (Colossians 2:14).
And the same applies to the PART-Word of each of the seven Church Ages. The PART-Word by which God baptized the elect into the Body in one Church Age was insufficient to give a new birth in the next Age. Like Israel's manna, it was not to be carried over into a new day. The saints of the Philadelphian Age had to die to their old Anglican, Lutheran or Presbyterian husband and receive the measure of faith predestinated to the new Age. The saints of Laodicea had to die to their Baptist, Methodist, Nazarene and Pilgrim Holiness ideas from Philadelphia. That old husband was dead. They had to be born of the Word for their day. And the saints of this day have to bury the old Pentecostal husband to come under preeminence to that which is perfect - Christ - the Fullness of the Word.
Now there is a false doctrine on the new birth based on the letter of Brother Branham's Message without taking it back to the Bible from Genesis to Revelation to discover what the Spirit teaches. It claims that the elect of God have two souls. The first is a sinful soul that dies at the new birth, when the seed of a second elect soul present from birth is quickened to become the eternal soul.
There are many reasons why this cannot be so. Firstly, the seed is the Word of God which is received through the preaching of faith. It can't be present from birth. How can babies receive revelation of God's Word when they can't even talk?
Secondly, we know that "the soul that sins will surely die": after the White Throne Judgment. The first death is physical. The death of the soul the second death.
Thirdly, like Adam, Jesus died to redeem His wife - not to replace her. Saints are redeemed sinners, not replacements. The law of the kinsman redeemer provides a substitute to REDEEM the debtor. Were we replaced by a substitute, WE would be lost, the substitute soul would itself be in fornication with the god of this world, and not married to the Word or born-again.
"For you are dead to the desires of the world, and your Life and desires are hid with Christ in the heart of God" (Colossians 3:3; Romans 6:6-7).
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to they who are the called according to His purpose. For all he foreknew he also predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son (the stature of the fullness of the perfect man), that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
(Who is Jesus? Not One of three or three of One, or six of One and half-a-dozen of the other. He's the first-born of ten thousand times ten thousand sons in the new creation. The first resurrected from among the dead. Scripture is the story of God changing His form from the eternal Spirit alone with His thoughts to their manifestation in the flesh of His glorified family. In this Form He will be worshipped by the "saved" throughout eternity. Jesus was the beginning of this creation - less than 2,000 years ago).
Moreover those whom God predestinated, he also called: and whom He called, He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified" (Romans 8:20-30).
If the Justified keep walking in the Light as God unfolds It, and watch as more Light unfolds, they will be washed and sanctified by further revelation bringing them into agreement with the Word, and when they see the PRESENT Truth manifesting through their lives they will know they are born-again, and that very soon, they will be glorified without death. That, by the grace is God, is the hope of the saints in this end-time Bride of Jesus Christ.