We're wrapping up our brief side study on the sovereignty of God. We took this abbreviated study for the general benefit of our spiritual knowledge and growth. Plus, for our overall study series, we needed to establish some basic principles of the sovereignty of God as to His actions in relationship to Satan and mankind.

God's will, motive and actions toward mankind and Satan will determine what each can do, and what interrelationship between the two can exist. The Biblical presentation of this subject, like so many, is not presented in essay or outline form anywhere in the Scriptures. Instead, we must compare all Scriptures and harmonize them carefully

It is virtually impossible for any of us to come to the study of the Scriptures without any prejudice or preconceived opinions. Certainly, we are to use the things we have previously learned as we continue to study the Scriptures.

However, we should never approach the Bible to use the Scriptures as proof texts to reconfirm or prove a humanly established teaching or doctrine. Instead, we should use what we have learned to enable us, through the teaching of the Holy Spirit, to discover further and deeper truths of God's Person and plan, as stated in the Bible

God knew the inability of the humans to come to the Scripture with totally open minds, void of any selfish motive to promote or establish fondly held theories. Therefore, God gave us a method of Biblical study, that not only preempts such human frailty, but can use human activity in a process to clearly understand God's provision.

This method of study is entered into by and through obedience to God's directives. However, the process is totally separate and apart from human effort, schemes and merit.

God's method of study can enable us to know the deep things of God, in spite of the human element that, in the natural condition, is incapable of any spiritual activity.

Living by the Spirit

When believers are living by means of the Spirit of God, even our mortal bodies can be an active part of this spiritual activity. Our mortal body can become a part of spiritual activity, not because of any merit within the natural life and body, but because we have yielded that spiritually dead mortal body to the life giving Holy Spirit (Rom 6 and others). Therefore, God can, in spite of the spiritual deadness of the body, give spiritual life to that spiritually dead body so it can be a channel of God's spiritual activity. The spiritual life referred to is not Sonship through the New Birth, but our daily walking in the Spirit.

I was asked a question about some of the passages I gave last lesson for study concerning the will and purpose of God. Actually, it was series of questions. These were bona fide questions, that without some orderly information would be very difficult to honestly answer. Therefore, I'm adding some material to this and the next three lessons, which may make them four lessons. Those verses were given last week within a plan for finishing this segment in the next two lessons, so we would have some conclusion before the Christmas break.

The additional information will extend this segment of our study into January/February 2001. I will not be answering these question by, Point #1, Point #2, etc. Instead, the information needed for the answers will be included in the process of teaching this subject of sovereignty.

When teaching almost any Biblical subject, and especially a subject as vast and integral as God's sovereignty, the teacher starts with the assumption that certain facts and procedures are known and used by those being taught.

Of course, there is really no way of knowing whether those things are known and used by the student. Therefore, it is always good to have questions brought to my attention, especially those that are hindering the understanding of the subject at hand.

Categories of Death

Romans 8:10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

We can't take the time to study this glorious passage at this time, but we do need to establish some facts, accept those facts and act accordingly. Please see several facts in this passage that will help understand its gist, especially when you place these facts in the total context. The latter is an exercise too extensive to complete in this study.

The Holy Spirit through Paul establishes two simple facts in Romans 8:10 that sets the scene for a very important phrase in Romans 8:11. We must keep in mind that this whole passage is in reference to those who have already accepted Christ as their Savior.

We also must realize that Paul refers to several types of death in this whole section of Romans. We won't take the time to establish this from Scripture, but there are basically 3 categories of death mentioned in the Bible. Within those three categories of death, there are several sub-types, often referred to as the 7 types of death. I'm not sure that 7 is the appropriate number, but it is a good reference point.

Please, keep in mind that the "3 deaths" or the "7 deaths" are only study tools to aid in our understanding. Some other teacher may sub-divide Biblical death into 20. That's all right, as long as such division is used only as a study tool.

There will be more information on this subject given in the Tuesday night class starting Jan 16, 2001 at 7PM on the Soul. If you cannot make the live class, the information will be on the web a few days to weeks after each class. It is a study that each believer needs!

The term death basically means to be severed(separated, alienated, no longer in functional union) from the source of life, so that all vital functions in that realm have ceased, without the possibility of recovery. (Death is also used as slang in which there is possible recovery.)

Depending on which category of death is being addressed, the separation from the source of life may be different.

You see, we use the term dead in so many different ways that it would take most of this lesson just to list the usages.

Therefore, the only way we can know which death is being referred to is context, compare, harmonize. That is true of many terms we use in everyday conversation. It is especially true when it comes to any subject in the Bible.

Spiritual Death

The category of death referred to in this passage is to that of spiritual death. There are several sub-types of spiritual death. Please understand that these terms for death are only descriptive titles to aid in study and are not Biblical identification tags.

There is no spiritual significance wrapped up in these terms. Please don't fall in love or become too attached to them. I always fear when I use a term or illustration not in the Bible. I fear that some will become obsessed with the term or illustration, instead of the Biblical truth they are designed to amplify.

There is universal spiritual death of which every human is a part, because of the sin of Adam. Therefore, the sin nature was passed to every human through procreation.

There is carnal spiritual death that can only be experienced by believers who have been made alive in Christ through the new birth. Carnal spiritual death has no effect on our New Birth. The New Birth is an eternal transaction from God, for each person who accepts Christ as their personal Savior.

A believer, one who has God's eternal life as a gift, can break or sever their fellowship with God through sin or disobedience to God's Word. At that point, a believer is somewhat like the car battery when it is dead because it has not been constantly refreshed from its source, the car's alternator. The battery does not cease to be a battery while it is not receiving or drawing life. Once the proper union with the source is reestablished, that battery (or believer) will once again function properly and be alive through drawing life from the source of its life.

A Christian who is living in sin is dead, or is not properly drawing from the source of their spiritual life. In that condition, they are not, nor can not partake of God's divine nature, as per 2 Pet 1:4 and many other passages. Once the sin problem is properly cared for, the believer is able once again to draw, or partake of spiritual life from the only source of spiritual life which is God Himself.

There is much more to this matter of spiritual life and death, but I believe that gives us enough to better understand this portion, which will in turn make it possible to understand God's method of spiritual perception and the understanding of the deep things of God.

For kicks, take the information just received and apply it to 2 Corinthians 4:11-12 and see if you can establish which deaths Paul is referring to in that passage. Take a minute or to and look at this portion, then later work it over by context, comparing, and harmonizing. No fair working on it while we continue the lesson.

2 Corinthians 4:11-12 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death is working in us, but life in you.
Romans 8:10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Perceiving the Spirit

With that bit of insight, let's go back to our passage and see how God can use a spiritually dead body and mind in the process of perceiving the deep things of God. Paul establishes in Romans 8:10 that he is talking to believer by the phrase "and if Christ is in you." Only believers have Christ in them!

However, he continues with the fact that believers still have dead bodies. That would include all aspects, including mentality or the thinking capacity. Just because a person has accepted Christ as their Savior, does not equip them with the native ability to think or perceive spiritually.

Back to the believer that Paul is describing in Romans 8:10-11. This believer has Christ in him, yet his body is dead to all spiritual reality. There is spiritual life within that dead body, because the Spirit of God is Life. The Holy Spirit has stated in the previous verse that if we do not have His Spirit, we are none of His.

So here is what we have. A believer who has spiritual life within, but that Life is encased or housed in a body that is dead and incapable of reacting to, or receiving any spiritual information. The parts (eyes, ears, etc.) of this totally spiritually dead body are the only instruments for obtaining any information including information from the written Word of God.

In that condition, this believer could read the Bible 24 hours a day, and still not be any closer to understanding the spiritual implications and deep truths of it. Therefore, Paul goes on with the fact that If the Holy Spirit dwells in that believer, then God the Father, who raised up Christ from the dead, will give life to that dead mortal body, while and only while that believer allows the Holy Spirit to dwell within. If you need to, read that over a couple of times slowly. This is such a crucial truth to understand. Understanding this truth will open the door to even greater truths.

This Greek word for our English word "dwell" is the strongest form, and means to live in the abode as though the owner.

The Holy Spirit must not simply be a guest that we entertain and turn to when we need something. The Holy Spirit must have every right to all of our life, so that He can be at home just as though it were His own place of abode. This Life, given by God the Father to the dead mortal body of a believer through the Holy Spirit, is not physical life, but spiritual life.

Again, this is not spiritual life in the sense of receiving Eternal Life through the New Birth, but spiritual life in a similar sense as the battery gets life when it is being charged by its source, the alternator. That is what Peter is saying in 2 Peter 1:4, and is stated in other passages also.

2 Peter 1:4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

The Teaching of the Holy Spirit

When the believer is drawing this spiritual life, or is a partaker of God's divine nature through the Holy Spirit by means of the Word of God, then this study method of God's can even use the human element in the spiritual process of understanding deep spiritual things, or solid food of the Word.

When human elements are used apart from God's method, the end result is the doctrines of men, or even worse the doctrines of demons.

These doctrines can, and often are established by people with the very best of motives. But if they cannot perceive spiritual truth, they cannot teach spiritual truth!

Through God's method of study, spiritual understanding is supernaturally brought to the mind of the student who is properly engaged in that method. This supernatural understanding is not some strange extra-biblical information, but is the deep things of God recorded in the Word of God only taught by the Holy Spirit through His method. Proper engagement in God's study method is not some emotional state or mystic endeavor. It is instead simple obedience and consistent proper use of the Scriptures through the teaching of the Holy Spirit.

Even though the perception or understanding of the deep things of God is a supernatural effect performed by the Holy Spirit within the mind of a believer, the learning or gathering of Biblical facts is purely a human effort and determination. However, even in this gathering process, the Holy Spirit can and will assist if we allow Him to do so.

God's method of study is described and referred to often throughout the Scriptures. Sad to say, too often, the reality of the God's method is missed because its complete description is given in piece-meal fashion throughout the Scriptures.

The theme passage of MBF presents this process as clearly as any. Don't throw anything! We are going to look at this passage once again. I want you to notice the absence of human merit, schemes or plans in this presentation.

1 Corinthians 2:8-14 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

If we are to understand the deep things of God, we must come to the Scriptures:

Let's look at a couple of passages confirming this last statement.

Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
Psalms 25:14 The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant.

Of course we could look at many, many more, but let's limit our exploration to just a few more verses.

Ephesians 1:3-12 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth-- in Him, 11 in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
Hebrews 5:13-14 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Discern [Hebrews 5:14] = (Greek)
Judicial estimation not for the purpose of judgment but to establish the sequence of facts; To separate thoroughly.
Good [Hebrews 5:14] = (Greek)
To be sound, hale and whole; Constitutionally good without necessarily being benevolent; Expression of beauty or truth as a harmonious completeness of balance and proportion.

Knowledge vs Obedience

We spent time in this passage earlier in this series. The thing about spiritual reality is that simply knowing facts does very little good. Satan and his demons know the facts so well they tremble.

The benefit from the facts of the Word of God are only ours when we are a believer and have the Holy Spirit within. Then, we must constantly use the truths of the Word of God to become skilled in that Word. Last but not least, we must obey those facts and the truths presented by them.

We have way too many Christians with a lot of facts, but very little skill in the Word or obedience to that Word.

To them, the Bible is just another good book. Maybe even the best good book. However, the truths of the Word are never assimilated into their being as spiritual life through partaking of His diving nature. That assimilation of God's divine nature takes place as we become skilled in the Word through having our senses exercised by using the Word.

Exercised = (Greek) To practice naked in the games; To train vigorously in mind, body and soul.

This Greek word was used for the preparation of the runners in the games. These games were the forerunner of our Olympic games. Our practice in the Word is to be the type of training used by one who laid aside everything of pride, personal ambition or self protection for one thing, and one thing only--being totally prepared and trained for the race.

That is the type of dedication, mind-set and purpose we should have as we train in the Word of God. When we approach the precious eternal living Word of God, we should have only one single purpose. To know and live exactly by what the Word of God teaches.

We should not come to the Word of God to prove our point, or to gain favor with God, so we can get our prayers answered, etc. We should come to the Word of God because it is the Word of God, and it is the only source of spiritual life we have for daily living.

When we constantly use the Word of God in this manner, we become skilled in the solid food of the Word of righteousness, and we mature toward full age in Christ. In that state, we are able to discern both good and evil. (Please refer back to earlier lessons in this series for information concerning good and evil.)

When walking in the Spirit and being taught by the Word, we will be able to establish the sequence or flow of the facts of God's revelation. These are actions of obedience that believers are to engage in, if they expect to experience the supernatural teaching of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

Many theological doctrines have been formulated by reading one or two accounts of actions by God and superimposing human logic and motive on God's actions. Without correlating and harmonizing that human logic with the rest of Scripture, some theologians have developed elaborate teachings called "doctrines" that give humanistic explanations of the Person of God, and the manner believers are to live the Christian life.

When we come to the study of the Word of God having already established, in our thinking, what the Word of God says, or we are attempting to prove our theological position, then that will be the conclusion of our study no matter what the Word of God may be teaching. What a shame to waste time re-establishing a human opinion in our mind by means of human logic, and missing entirely the eternal truth from the Word, taught by the Holy Spirit.

Proverbs 23:7 for as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Eat and drink! he says to you, but his heart is not with you.
Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

What a shame to confine the revelation of the Word of God to what we already think it says!

Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! (through human means)

We miss so much of the wonderful treasures of God's wisdom and knowledge revealed in the Word of God when we have a heart already set and crystallized on what we think the limits of God's truths are.

Let's begin our discovery of what God says His will and purpose are for this segment of eternity called time.

God's Free Gift of Life

1 Timothy 2:1-6 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time

It is God's desire that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;

God has declared His desire that all be saved the "righteousness of God." It is what a person must have to be saved, and is provided to all. But that righteousness is only on all who believe. God backs-up His desire or will for all to be saved by making the provision of His righteousness available to all.

However, God does not force that righteousness on all, or on any. That righteousness, even though available to all, is only on those who believe. The choice to have or not to have righteousness is in the hands of each person. Paul says of this matter, "there is no difference!" God did not distinguish between some, and say they couldn't have righteousness, and say to others that they would have righteousness. Righteousness was made available to all, with no difference.

One of the reasons God shows no partiality or difference in this offer of salvation to all people, is found in the next verse.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

God would have been unjust to offer one person salvation and refuse some other, because all are alike, and totally depraved in sin without any hope. Even more important is the fact that God's desire is that none should perish, but that all should be saved.

Add to that, the fact that if God showed any partiality, He would not only be going contrary to His desire, He would be untrue to His own character or essence. Therefore, He would no longer be God!

Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him."
Deuteronomy 10:17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe.
Galatians 2:6 But from those who seemed to be something--whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man-- for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me.
Ephesians 6:9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
1 Peter 1:17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your sojourning here in fear;
Romans 2:10-12 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God. 12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law
Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
Romans 3:21-22 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;

Have you accepted the Christmas Gift of God? God's Christmas Gift is the spiritual package of Eternal Life. Eternal Life is God's own life, and He offers it to all as a free gift. This Gift includes a variety of infinite spiritual blessings. God's Christmas Gift came wrapped in the body of a baby, and about 30 years later that Gift was hung on God's Christmas Tree, the cross, to pay for your sins.