“They Will Not Go Out from It Anymore”

How can you tell a man-made church from the one true church?  There is no human being leading the services of the one true church.

Here’s another way: the service of the one true church never ends and therefore you never leave it.

Remember the promise of Revelation 3:12:  “I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore” (italics added).

Therefore, if you’re going to a church that you leave, it’s the wrong one.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Biblical Cosmology Overturned!

The Bible has a cosmology.  That is, it has a way of perceiving the structure of the universe.

The Bible portrays creation with the heavens above, the earth here, and the seas below.

However, the Bible does not portray this as a permanent arrangement.  Quite to the contrary, it promises a new heaven and a new earth.  And the book of Revelation is quite explicit that there is no longer any sea in this new order of creation (Revelation 21:1).

Thus the Bible provides not so much a snapshot of cosmology, but rather a motion picture.  The motion in that picture has already taken place, and it is the latter state that applies to us today.

Therefore you can rejoice that the dead no longer descend, but rather they ascend at death.  This earth is merely a staging area for the life to come.

Therefore, when you look to the Bible for its cosmology make sure you are taking to heart its fullest expression of that cosmology…and not just the original order.  Blessed be our Creator who has done this for us!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

2 Corinthians 3:11

Which is “that which fades away?”  The earthly manifestations of God’s  rule: most notably, the nation Israel with its temple and related services.

Which is “that which remains?”  The kingdom of God: faith, hope, love (1 Corinthians 13:13, and note verse 10 of that chapter as well).  Or, as Paul put it in Romans 14:17, “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

In 2 Corinthians 3:11 Paul is asking his readers to consider which has greater glory: that which is visible or that which is invisible?   The answer, of course, is that which is invisible.  For righteousness, truth, mercy, faith, hope, and love are all invisible qualities.  All the earthly glory we see in the Old Testament (e.g. Solomon’s temple and riches) were but a foreshadowing of the true riches – which are invisible – that come to us through Christ.

These invisible qualities are like the wind: you do not see them, but you see the effect they have.  That is, you do not see the wind but you do see the leaves rustling on the branches.  Likewise, you do not see the motivations of Christ, but you do see the life He lived and the people He helped.

Christ had no earthly glory to commend Him.  His glory was far greater than that.  His glory was in the truth He spoke, the kindness He showed, and the forgiveness He embodied.

Truly, that which remains has far greater glory than that which fades away.  Let that greater glory abide in you (Haggai 2:9).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

2 Corinthians 3:16

“Whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.”  What is the veil?  The veil of ignorance.

If you turn the Lord, but then immediately turn back, have you actually turned to the Lord?

So many people have turned from the darkness of this world to the light of the Lord in the sinner’s prayer, and then immediately turned back to the world by going to church in order to ostensibly serve God.  If you are called to an invisible kingdom, why then do you seek a visible kingdom?

Instead, people should stay turned to the Lord by walking before Him as Abraham did.  More specifically, God called Abraham to “walk before Me and be blameless” (Genesis 17:1).  Abraham did not go seeking “a body of believers.”  He kept walking before the Lord.  Blameless (don’t leave that part out – it’s crucial).

So many Christians today keep a veil over their eyes by refusing to acknowledge the Lord’s active presence in all of life.  If you want your blindness healed, if you want your darkness removed, open your eyes to Him and do not close them again.  Walk before the Lord.  And be blameless.  See John 3:19-21.

Don’t just pray the sinner’s prayer – live it!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Sacraments Are Shackles

Men fashion sacraments for the same reason that they used to fashion idols: folly.  It’s a vain exercise.

The church has the franchise on sacraments.  If they can get you to believe that there is grace in those sacraments, then you become bound to the church…because the church has the franchise on the sacraments.  You can’t get them anywhere else.

If you want to be free so that you can serve God you must tear yourself away from the shackles of man-made churches.

Do you want a true sacrament?  Serve God with your life, and your life will be your sacrament.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The “Still Small Voice” Is Jesus of Nazareth

In 1 Kings 19:11-12, Elijah is standing on a mountain.  A powerful wind – so powerful it was breaking rocks into pieces – passed by him.  Then came an earthquake.  And after that, a fire.  The Scripture says that God was in none of these things.  Then came “a still small voice.”  God was in that voice, and that voice spoke to Elijah.

This experience foreshadowed the coming of Jesus of Nazareth.  There were many great manifestations and miracles seen in Old Testament days, but the still small voice that was born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, and encamped in Capernaum was the God of heaven and earth.

Think how that “still small voice” we call Jesus is still speaking today.  And it is a voice that will continue to sound for all eternity.

Let us pay attention to the still small voice…and obey it.  For that voice is the Lord Himself speaking.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

“The Gospel of the Glory of Christ”

In 2 Corinthians 4:4 we see the phrase “the gospel of the glory of Christ.”

“Gospel,” of course, means “good news.”  Therefore, the phrase speaks of the good news of the glory of Christ.  The good news of the glory of Christ is that He is God, and in Him the heavens and the earth have been reorganized for our benefit.

Sheol below is no longer the destination of the dead.  Rather, the dead now go to heaven.   God turned the world upside out of love for us!

Can you appreciate the glory of Christ?  Can you see that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19)?

The idea of a trinity obscures this glory.  All the glory of God is found in Christ – not just one-third of it.

In Christ, God Himself died and rose from the dead.  Thus, the glory of Christ is the glory of God.  When God “sent His Son” He was sending Himself.  What glory!  What untold glory!

To learn more about Christ versus the Trinity, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Who Are Today’s Mighty Men of David?

2 Samuel 23  and 1 Chronicles 11 mention “the mighty men” who made David strong in his kingdom (see especially 1 Chronicles 11:10).

If David is a type of Christ (and he certainly is), who then represents “the mighty men” who “made him strong in his kingdom” in our age?

Is it the pastors, televangelists, bishops, overseers, popes, and so on we see so commonly in Christianity today?  No, it can’t be them because they are making themselves strong in their own kingdoms.  There are tens of thousands of Christian denominations, and therefore we have presented to us tens of thousands of kingdoms.  If Christ is truly king of them, why is there more than one kind of church?  If you would say that this is the Roman Catholic Church then you should study history and see that the Greek Orthodox churches has an equal, if not better claim – and yet they themselves are not one church.

The days of church are over and the day of God’s kingdom is here!  Today’s mighty men are those who exalt Jesus and Jesus alone (Isaiah 2:11, 17).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

How Do the People of God Act?

The people of God act like God, which is to say, they act like Jesus.

For this reason, we ought to mentally translate “the people of God” into “the people of Jesus” whenever we hear the former term.

How did Jesus act?  Humble, gentle, patient, kind, generous, forgiving.  Let us imitate Him that we might be worthy of the name “people of God.”

And who is “us”?  Human beings.  All human beings.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The People of God Are the People of Jesus

If I say “the people of God,” a picture probably comes to your mind.  If, however, I say “the people of Jesus,” you might see a different image.  Nonetheless, “the people of God” and “the people of Jesus” are synonymous terms…because Jesus is God.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

How You Can Join God

You join God by trusting Him.  It’s that simple.

(By the way, Christ is God.  Therefore, whether you say “join God” or “join Christ,” you’ve said the same thing.)

If you trust Him, it cannot escape His notice.  Therefore, do not doubt that He sees you turning toward Him.  He will never leave nor forsake you, so don’t doubt that He’s with you now.

Trust is not a transaction – it is a way of life.  Trust is not something that occurs to be forgotten – it is an ongoing relationship.  Trust is not something you check off as done – it is something you continually do.

Join Christ as you would a faithful spouse.  In fact, you were joined at birth…but you have wandered.  Return to Him now and stop wandering forever.  Stay joined to Him to whom you were joined.  “What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

How You Can Join the People of God

You can join the people of God by…joining God.

You do not join the people of God by joining people.  For then you are only joining people and you are therefore not “of God.”  However, if you join God then you will be “of God.”  And you will be among His people.

Again, if you wish to be “of God” then join God.  Do not seek to join me or anyone else other than Christ Himself.  He will receive you.  You must only trust Him, for without faith it is impossible to join Him in this earth.  However, with faith…all things are possible.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Whom Do the People of God Heed?

The people of God heed the voice of their shepherd.   They do not heed the voice of other sheep.  There was a time when God used human shepherds, but that time is past.  Jesus Himself is the shepherd-king in the kingdom of God.  His sheep know His voice, and the voice of a stranger they simply will not follow (John 10).

Jesus said that there would be “one flock with one shepherd” (John 10:16).  You know therefore that today’s churches with their innumerable divisions and leaders cannot possibly be the flock of which Jesus was speaking.  The very fact that they are scattered proves that they have no shepherd (Zechariah 13:7).

The people of God heed the voice of Jesus.  By this behavioral characteristic they are known.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

What Do the People of God Seek?

The people of God do not seek their own wills, their own interests, or their own satisfaction.  They seek the will of the One who sent them.  They seek the interests of Christ their Savior.  They seek the satisfaction of God Almighty.  By these behavioral characteristics they are known.

The people of God do not seek each other.  They seek Him!

Wake up to your inheritance and live like the people of God that you are!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken

The kingdom of God is the kingdom that “cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:25-29).

The kingdom of church can surely be shaken.  It was shaken in New Testament times and it has been shaking ever since.  The kingdom of God, however, since it requires no human rule, is not subject to such shaking.  It is sure and steadfast for it is administered by the Lord Himself.  He is its government (Isaiah 9:6-7).

Who can be a member of a church and not experience shaking?  On the other hand, who can be in the kingdom of God and be shaken at all?

“The kingdoms of this world they have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ and He shall reign forever and ever.”  (Revelation 11:15)

Seek the kingdom that cannot be shaken…so that you may no longer be shaken.  The Lord shows the way!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Eternal Kingdom That Replaced the Temporary Kingdom

In 2 Peter 1:10-11, Peter writes of the eternal kingdom of Jesus Christ that was to come.  He was writing to those who belonged to the temporary kingdom of Jesus: the church of the New Testament.

The church we read about in the New Testament was a temporal kingdom of Jesus, set in place until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet (Psalm 110:1).  The last enemy that was abolished was death (1 Corinthians 15:26).  At Christ’s Second Coming, which is one and the same with the coming of the kingdom of God, all things – including death – were placed beneath the feet of Jesus.

Those in the church during New Testament days knew that theirs was “not a lasting city” (Hebrews 13:14).  The “city which was to come” (Hebrews 13:14) was “the eternal kingdom” of which Peter wrote.

This eternal kingdom came and – precisely because it is eternal – remains until now…and always will.  It makes no more sense to seek the church in the days of this kingdom than it would have made to seek Moses’ tent of meeting in the days of Solomon’s temple.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Christ’s Second Coming Was a Time When He Separated Us

The coming of the kingdom of God was a time of separation.  It marked the separating of  sheep from goats (Matthew 25:31-46), of wheat from tares (Matthew 13:24-30), of wheat from chaff (Matthew 3:12) – all according to the parables of Jesus.  It was a time of one being taken while another was left (Matthew 24:40-42) – again, according to the teaching of Jesus.

This separation was a spiritual separation.  In the physical realm, it would not have been visible.

God knows human hearts.  We cannot see beyond the veil of flesh, but He can.

When He returned, Jesus noted those who were worthy and brought them into the kingdom of God.  Everyone else was left outside.  And this separation continues today.

If you honor the Lord continually in your heart, He will know it and He will bring the blessing of His kingdom upon you.  But don’t look for visible signs.  They were not present in the coming of the kingdom of heaven so neither will they be present for you to enter the kingdom.  We must live by faith, for without faith it is impossible to please God.  Faith trusts the unseen Christ.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Jesus Was Israel’s Ultimate Prophet

I’ve been writing the last few days about Jesus’ affinity for, and similarity with, Israel’s prophets who had come before Him.  This will be a concluding statement on that series.

Jesus was ancient Israel’s last and greatest prophet!  All the ones before Him talked about another prophet that would be coming.  All He ever talked about was coming again.

And He did.

We have no need of another prophet because we have Jesus with us all the time.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Prophets Walked; Jesus Ran

Where the prophets walked, Jesus ran.  Where the prophets stumbled, Jesus ran.  Where the prophets fell, Jesus ran.

The prophets could not run because they did not know the way.  No one knew the way until Jesus revealed it by carving the path Himself.  That why He’s called the forerunner (Hebrews 6:20).

Because He cleared the way, we should run behind Him (Hebrews 12:1-2).  We owe that not just to Him, but also to the prophets who had to walk with far less help and with a path less clear than we have.

1 Peter 2:21 says we should follow in Jesus’ steps.  Let us not take those steps slowly.  Let us run as He did.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Prophets Took Steps; Jesus Took the Whole Journey

I’ve been writing the last couple of days about relevance of the prophets’ lives to Jesus’ life.

Like Elijah and Elisha, Jesus did miracles.  Like Jeremiah, He called the people to repentance.  Like Jonah, He spent three days and nights in the deep.  Like Isaiah, He spoke to the people about a glorious future.  And so on.  Each prophet took a step or two, but Jesus put all those steps together into one unprecedented  journey!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

“Of Whom Does the Prophet Say This?”

Yesterday I mentioned that Jesus walked in the steps of the prophets who came before Him.  Jesus was indeed a prophet Himself (though He was also much more than a prophet).  And His experiences in life were like that of the prophets before Him.

So similar were the experiences that when the Ethiopian treasury official was reading Isaiah 53:7-8, he asked Philip, “Of whom does the prophet say this – of himself or of someone else?”  (Acts 8:26-40)  Of course, Philip went on to preach Jesus from this scripture.  This is because what the prophets experienced in measure, Jesus experienced in fullness.

We see the same sort of thing in Acts 2:24-32 where Peter explains that while people typically thought David wrote Psalm 16 about himself, it was really written with the ultimate fulfillment by Messiah in mind.  God’s original grace to David was great, but His grace through Christ more abundant beyond measure.

The prophets are indeed types of Christ.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Christ Honored the Memory of the Prophets by Walking in Their Steps

Over and over in the gospels we read that when Jesus did such-and-such it was so that what was written by the prophet so-and-so “might be fulfilled.”

Of course, these writings of the prophets included prophecies of what Messiah would do.  But they also included what were for the prophets themselves present tense experiences with their contemporaries.  The prophets were persecuted.  They suffered.  They lived righteously, spoke in the name of God, and were roundly rejected for doing so.  And they wrote about these experiences.

That God chose to come and live as Jesus of Nazareth, experiencing what the prophets experienced, and doing so according to the very way they wrote about those experiences, bestows great meaning and honor upon the lives of the prophets.

Jesus did not come to live as a layman in Israel – He came to live as a prophet.  And that He used the prophets’ “diaries” as His “guide”  makes us realize how much He had treasured their sacrifices for Him as they were making them.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The “Novel Way” Jesus Read the “Old Testament”

Yesterday I mentioned the “novel way” Jesus read the “Old Testament.”  By the way, He, of course, didn’t call it the “Old Testament.”  That’s a Christian term.  He called it the Torah, or the Law, or the Law and the Prophets, or the Scriptures, or the Prophets, and so on.  I’m just using “Old Testament” as a term of convenience.

Jesus’ new approach to the Scriptures was to read them spiritually rather than according to the flesh.  In this manner, being a Jew was no longer a matter of your ethnicity, it was a state of your heart (Romans 2:28-29).  Jerusalem was no longer just a city in Palestine, it was a heavenly city (Galatians 4:26).  Priests were no longer merely descendants of Aaron, they were people who genuinely cared for others (Revelation 1:6).  And so Jesus reinterpreted and reoriented the entire canon of Scripture toward a spiritual purpose.  (That many people today still apply it in the physical dimension – whether in church or synagogue – should not be held against Him.)

Of course, in redefining the meaning Jesus made clear that this had been the ultimate intent of the Scriptures all along.  No one had recognized that the fleshly interpretation was just temporary until Messiah came on the scene to show the true and lasting way.

Let us forsake all other interpretations of Scripture and use only the one Jesus gave.  In that way we can live righteously before Him (Deuteronomy 29:29).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

No New Writings Were Needed to Launch the Movement of Christ

How fascinating that Jesus was a spiritual leader who did not need to write or publish a book to convey His teachings.  Rather, He just used a book that had been around for hundreds of years before He was born…and interpreted it in an entirely novel way!

When critics lump Jesus in with other spiritual leaders, whether currently or in times past, it just demonstrates how ignorant such critics are of facts like this that so distinguish Him from other spiritual leaders.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Ancient Paths

When Jesus said “Come to Me, all ye who are weary and heavy-laden” (Matthew 11:28-30), He quoted the prophet Jeremiah in the same breath.  Specifically, He quoted part of Jeremiah 6:16.  The earlier part of Jeremiah’s verse mentioned “the ancient paths” – that we should “ask for the ancient paths.”  Therefore, Jesus was offering knowledge of those ancient paths – those that would give rest to the soul.

How wonderful that He who came to show us the new way (Hebrews 10:20) was actually showing us the old way (“ancient path”)!  Indeed this way of living is new to us, but it is not new to Him.  It’s the path He’s been wanting humanity to take all along.

It is the path of love.  It is the path of true righteousness.  Cleanse your heart from self-serving and live for the One who gave Himself an example for us.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Would He Leave Us as Widows and Orphans?

Search the Scriptures and see that God shows great concern for widows and orphans in this life.  One of His recurring criticisms of His people was that they did not show sufficient care for those who had been widowed and orphaned.  This was a strong point of emphasis for Him.  Just search an exhaustive concordance for “widow” or “orphan” or “widow orphan” and you’ll immediately sense in the number and content of the verses the emphasis on this point, and how it extends from one end of the Scriptures to the other.

Why is this?  It is because Jesus understands the pain of being forsaken.  He understands the dysfunction involved when there is a missing husband or missing father.  Life was meant to be lived in relationship, not loneliness.

How then could God ever leave you with the feelings of spiritual abandonment that belong to the spiritual widow or the orphan – that is, the human being who, as it were, was abandoned by his Creator?  God would be a hypocrite if He were to forsake you.  Therefore, if you feel forsaken by God, then the cause is an absence of your faith – not an absence of your God.

Never doubt His commitment to you.  But be sure to do what is right in His sight so that you may have confidence in His presence (1 John 3:19-22).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Do Any Pastors Today Read 1 Peter?

Read Peter’s first epistle.  It will not take you long.

Look for any resemblance between it and church life today.  There’s nothing in 1 Peter about programs for various age groups, nothing about tithing and capital campaigns, nothing about volunteering for the nursery or pre-school, nothing about building maintenance, times for worship services, and membership growth.  In short, there’s hardly anything in it which can be tied to the focus of today’s churches.

What you do find in Peter’s letter is an abiding focus on faith in Christ, doing good to others, and bearing up under suffering.  Peter desires that in any and every circumstance, his readers do what is right – what Jesus would do.

Either today’s church leaders don’t read 1 Peter, or else they don’t care very much about what it teaches for those who would follow Christ.

(By the way, what I’ve said in this post about 1 Peter can be said about the entire New Testament.  In fact, go back through this post substituting the words “New Testament” wherever you see “1 Peter” and “the apostles” wherever you find “Peter” and it will be just as valid.)

All this is why it’s better to forget church and seek the kingdom of God instead.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

To Be Born Again Is To Be Born from Above

In 1 Peter 1:23 the apostle Peter writes that we have been born again of “imperishable seed.”  As for the “seed” part, see yesterday’s post, Jesus Is the Long-Promised Seed.  As for the “born again” part, see 1 Peter  1:3 where Peter ties this new birth to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This fits perfectly with what the disciples had overheard Jesus explaining to Nicodemus in John 3.

In John 3, the Greek can be translated as either “born again” or “born from above” when Jesus says to Nicodemus, “Unless you are born again you cannot see the kingdom of God.”  Either expression is valid.  It is a second birth for a human being.  It is also a birth from above but it requires the resurrection of Jesus to heaven to effect it.

The resurrection of Jesus to heaven opened the way for a completely new and spiritual understanding of human life.  That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of spirit is spirit (John 3:6).  That which is born of flesh dies, but that which is born of spirit endures forever.  This is why Peter connected this new birth with Isaiah 40:6-8 in 1 Peter 1:23-25.

The installation of the Son of God in heaven (Psalm 2:7; Psalm 110:1) was the means to a spiritual rebirth of all creation.  What had been subjected to futility was now overshadowed by the glory of Him who gave birth to a new and eternal life for all of us (Romans 8:20-21).  What is born again is born from above – that is, born through Christ resurrected.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Jesus Is the Long-Promised Seed

In Acts 3:25-26, the apostle Peter makes clear that Jesus Christ was what God had in mind when He promised Abraham in Genesis 22:18, “And in your seed shall all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”  Therefore, Jesus – not the host of Abrahamic descendants – was “the seed.”

The apostle Paul makes this point even more emphatically and explicitly in Galatians 3:16.

Of course, this promised seed goes back even further than Abraham.  It goes all the way back to the garden of Eden when God promised in Genesis 3:15 that the seed of the woman would one day decisively bruise the serpent and his seed.

This is the same seed to which Isaiah referred when he said that “the holy seed was in the stump” of Israel (Isaiah 6:13).  That is, even when Israel was in great decline from the glory days of David and Solomon and even more decline was being prophesied by Isaiah, God was still determined to ultimately bring through that seed who would redeem Israel and the entire human race.  Though Israel be completely cut down, yet the seed of God would be in the stump.

That seed was promised not only to be descended from Abraham, but specifically from Abraham’s descendant David (2 Samuel 7:12-13).  Thus we see in the lineage of both Joseph and Mary (Matthew 1 and Luke 3, respectively), the connection between their humble lives and the promise of a seed from God.

Jesus is that seed.  And He is the seed of our understanding of God as well.  If we plant that seed in our hearts, it will grow into a greater and greater understanding of God.  Therefore, if you want to understand God, plant the seed of Jesus of Nazareth in your heart.

To do so in a practically way, consider also that Jesus Is the Seed of the Parables.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.