PART 6 The Spirituality Puzzle
What causes someone to become a child of God and have assurance of eternal life?

Chapter 7
Salvation By Repentance And Belief?
What Causes A Believer To Have Fellowship, i.e. To Be A Partaker Of God’s Nature?

According to this salvation message, in order to be a partaker of God’s nature, we need to have fellowship with God the Holy Spirit. What does it mean to have fellowship with the Spirit?

Please go to the book of Philippians.

If Any Fellowship Of The Spirit
Philippians 2:1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

When the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians at Philippi, one of the things he emphasized was that they needed to have fellowship with the Spirit. To “have fellowship of the Spirit” means that among Christians there was a participation in the influences of the Holy Spirit; and that they shared in some degree the feelings, views, and joys of the Sacred Spirit Himself73).

What are the influences of the Spirit?

These are otherwise known as the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit are the influences, spiritual qualities, or graces of the Spirit (i.e. love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance) which relate to Christian character. In order to operate in these, we need to be filled with Him.

What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit?

Be Filled
Ephesians 5:18b …but be filled with the Spirit;

It means that the believer is being controlled by Him. This idea is about the Holy Spirit filling (furnishing; supplying) the believer with Himself, which is another way of saying that when this spiritual condition occurs, we will experience his presence in our life.

How are these graces (evidences of Christian character) developed?

Be Likeminded
Philippians 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

This is where there is much difference of opinion. Many churches will advocate that if their members are likeminded (an "inward disposition" or "state of mind"74) as to obeying the teaching of their church, then they will be operating in the filling of the Spirit. These teachings will probably not only contain doctrinal information about their faith (i.e. the deity of Christ; forgiveness; redemption, etc.) but will also emphasize performing godly works (i.e. feeding the poor; tithing; providing for widows and orphans; etc.). While I would agree that teachings and godly works are important unfortunately neither of these might have anything to do with the fruit, filling, and development of the graces of the Spirit. Why not, because either the filling of the Spirit is often misunderstood, not taught at all, or the addressing of what inhibits the development of its fruit is considered intrusive in the lives of those in the assembly?

What is it that inhibits the development of the fruit of the Spirit?

It’s the sin nature, the self-nature. This sin nature can sometimes be called the flesh. It can also be referred to as what the physical body wants or commands. The sin nature has innate forces resident in it called tendencies, affections, passions, propensities, or evil desires. When these forces reach out to find expression in their gratification, they are called lusts. These tendencies, propensities, passions, affections, or evil desires influence the mind or reason, from which proceed evil thoughts, which produce evil speech and actions.

Galatians 5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

However, now that we are born again, having the Holy Spirit living inside of us, God wants us to be conformed to the image of his Son. He wants us to be like his Son in the sense of thinking with divine viewpoint under the guidance and influence of the Holy Spirit. The issue now is, will we allow Godly thoughts to be that which we reflective on in our mind?
Many will say yes, as the Israelites said yes, when they set out with Moses after having been slaves in Egypt for 430 years in order to get to the Promised Land, the land of Canaan, which God promised them for an inheritance. However, after a period of wandering in the wilderness for 40 years most of them never made it into the Promised Land. It was only the children of this condemned generation along with Joshua and Caleb, who were allowed to enter in.

Romans 8:5-6 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Galatians 5:16-17 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

Why didn’t most of them enter in to the Promised Land?

It’s because they continued to think contrary (constant murmuring and complaining) to God’s guidance (word) in the midst of the situations he placed before them. Think of it this way, those who are habitually dominated by the sinful nature will have their minds controlled by what their body wants, and those who are habitually controlled by the Spirit will live as the Spirit tells them to live. The mind that is controlled or dominated by the evil nature will experience all of the miseries, which are associated with sin. Likewise, the mind, which is submitted to the views and promptings of the Holy Spirit, will possess the life that God is, and will experience true bliss. While we will never be entirely free in this life from the evil desires of our flesh, we can experience victory over them by the Spirit’s help. Thus, the choice lies with each of us as to whether we are going to yield to the Holy Spirit or obey the evil nature.

Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:

The way in which one lives is determined by that on which one focuses their thoughts.

We are to put on the new man, the person who we are now in Christ. We are to learn how to think with the mind of Christ. What is the mind of Christ? The mind of Christ is thinking with divine viewpoint as revealed in the scriptures, the viewpoint of which is contained in some parts of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the book of Acts, the Epistles, and the book of Revelation.

Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Ephesians 4:22-24 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

As we learn to think differently toward our self, others, and outward circumstances, the rich and full experience of God’s love will be realized in our life. Thinking differently can also be referred to as being renewed in knowledge after the image (divine nature) of him that created us, which is another way of saying that this is the means of restoring the divine image (nature) to our soul.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

God transforms our minds and makes us spiritually minded by using His Word. As we spend time meditating on it, memorizing it, and applying it, He will gradually make our mind more spiritual.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we sin mentally, verbally, or overtly, we should confess known sin to God the Father and/or to whomever we have committed our offense against, if any. After which, we should replace human viewpoint thinking with divine viewpoint thinking as it pertains to that particular area of our life. We are to put off the old ways of thinking and put on the new ways of thinking. If we are consistent in doing so, soon those habitual thoughts which have led to in some cases habitual sinful actions, such as committing adultery, fornication, intoxication, drug abuse, slander, extortion (obtaining money by the abuse of one’s office), homosexuality, malice (the eagerness to harm another), cheating, lying, pedophilia, rape, fraud (trickery perpetrated for profit) etc., will be interrupted, and the obedient child of God will be characterized, no longer by any trait or quality of his own personality, but merely as the subject of the work of divine love75.

1 John 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

I will ask the same question I asked in the other dispensations, what causes a believer to have fellowship; except in this dispensation it means to partake of God’s nature or to be in fellowship with the Spirit? How else could we say this? This answer is quite different from the other dispensations. Hold your seat. Are you ready to find out? It’s not in doing this or performing godly works, but it’s being filled with the Holy Spirit. Oh, no. Do I need to call an ambulance?

Again, to repeat what I have already asked and answered earlier, what is the basis for being filled with the Spirit?

It is confessing known sin, then being able to recover (reflecting upon the word of God in respect to any area of weakness), and finally learning how to think about ourselves, others, and the circumstances of life according to divine viewpoint. When this becomes our protocol the graces (the spiritual qualities) of the Spirit will be developed and manifest to others. And subsequently the focus will no longer be on evidencing godly works as the basis for determining whether someone is saved, but on being conformed inwardly to the image of God’s Son. As we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ and operate in the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit godly works will be evidenced in the time when they should be.

You might think that we have addressed this salvation message of repentance and belief. We have in the sense of being aware of its two chief components, but there are other questions which need to be answered in order to fully understand what else constitutes this salvation message. One of the first questions we will attempt to answer is this.

Did Christ provide for the forgiveness of sins on the cross?

Let’s see what this is all about.

Chapter 8
Salvation By Repentance And Belief?
Did Christ Provide For The Forgiveness Of Sins On The Cross?

Most will agree that Christ died on the cross as mankind’s substitute to pay the debt owed to the justice of God for sin. But what about forgiveness? Were all of these sins forgiven at this time?

Let’s begin by looking at the ultimate example of expressing forgiveness i.e. of Christ on the cross toward his persecutors.

Father Forgive Them For They Know Not What They Do
Luke 23:33-46

Christ and two others are hanging on a cross, at a place called Calvary (kranion), the Greek word for Golgotha - the place of a skull. He is placed between two thieves as if to indicate that he was the worst of the three transgressors. The superscription above his head, which indicated his crime, was, “This is the King of the Jews”. This was written in the 3 learned languages of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew.
During the time, when the Jews entered the Promised Land, the land of Canaan, while operating under the institution of the Mosaic Law, it was common for an executed person to be publicly displayed by hanging them from the stakes of a stockade wall. This was done to discourage civil disobedience and to mock defeated military foes.
Another method which the Jews employed for carrying out a death sentence was stoning. After someone was killed in this manner, the person was placed on a tree “hanging” for public display. People so displayed after execution by stoning for breaking Israel’s Law were said to be cursed of God. Later, the stake or cross came to be used as a means of civil and military punishment for persons convicted as enemies of the state (foreign soldiers, rebels, spies, treason, desertion in the face of the enemy, robbery, piracy, assassination, sedition, etc.).
During the time when Christ lived on the earth, the Sanhedrin (the judicial system of the Jews) had four forms of capital punishment: stoning, burning, beheading, and strangling. However, the Roman judicial system took away from the Sanhedrin the power of inflicting capital punishment. (Sanhedrin, 1, beginning; 7,2, p.24). This simply meant that without the confirmation of the sentence on the part of the Roman procurator, the Jews had no power to carry out the sentence of the Sanhedrin. And by the way, the Roman citizen was exempt from crucifixion, the use of which was abolished under Emperor Constantine, in about 300 AD.
In regard to the coming Messiah, the Jews were looking for someone, who would deliver them from Roman rule. If Jesus was, who he said he was, he would not only deliver himself from the Romans that had him now in their hands, but he would also deliver the Jews from Roman rule. Obviously, he did neither. Therefore, the Jews prosecuted him under the notion of a pretended Messiah. He was placed on a cross, sentenced to die for blasphemy, claiming to be someone, who according to the Jews, he was not.

And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. (Luke 23:33-34, 44)

Jesus along with two others, one on each side of him, are each placed on a cross. In pertaining to forgiveness, at some point Jesus makes this statement, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. The word “forgive” means to give up a debt. It also means to not exact punishment with the view toward salvation. Some would say that this prayer pertaining to forgiveness was not referring to the sin whose debt was paid for on the cross, but toward both the Jewish high priests and Roman soldiers, who ignorantly falsely convicted and physically abused him and as such were accountable for the prescribed penalty under the Mosaic Law. So, Jesus was asking the Father to not inflict punishment on them concerning their transgressions.
We can conclude that Jesus would soon die for all sins on the cross. However, this prayer for forgiveness did not pertain to all of these sins he would die for, but for those who falsely accused and convicted him.

Please go to the book of Colossians.

Having Forgiven You All Trespasses
Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

If you read this verse without Greek glasses on, it would say something like this. And you, the believers at Colossee being continually spiritually dead in your sins and the sin nature of your flesh (body) of which uncircumcision is a sign of, has he (God the Holy Spirit) quickened (made alive) together with Christ, having forgiven (wiped away) all of your trespasses (all deviation from truth). This appears to be saying, that when you were made alive with Christ your sins were forgiven. Some would infer that this occurred at salvation, when they as unbelievers were baptized in water. Others would say that this occurred following repentance of one’s sins and belief in Christ as to who he is and what he has accomplished. By the way, neither is this the case. How could this be such?
As I said initially, you need to have Greek glasses on in order to understand what is meant by the words “having forgiven”. Here is what I mean. The original New Testament manuscripts were written in what was called the Koine Greek, the common language of the people at that time. When it was translated into English sometimes the structure of the sentence appeared to be saying one thing, when it actually was not. This is particularly the case when a participle appears in scripture in the Aorist tense. First of all, what is a participle?
A participle is known as a verbal noun and denotes the purpose as to why someone is doing something or why something is being done. What is meant by the Aorist tense? The Aorist tense tells us about what kind of action is being expressed by the verb. In this case, the Aorist denotes action as occurring at a point in time. In a verse, if we are able to identify these two occurring together i.e. what is known as an Aorist Participle (a verbal adjective). What this tells us is that the action of this verb precedes the action of the main verb or verbs in the verse of scripture. This will bring about an awareness of something happening before something else that we weren’t able to tell from the English translation.
So, the words “having forgiven” are, you guessed it, an Aorist Participle which refers to the action occurring before the action of the main verb “quickened”. What this tells us is all of the sins of the Corinthian believers were forgiven before they were quickened (made alive) with Christ. Another way of saying this is that it was on the basis that the sins of the Colossian believers were already forgiven (by inference at the cross) before they were allowed to be quickened (made alive) with Christ.
Therefore, what we can deduce from this is that if the sins that Christ bore on the cross were not forgiven, then no unbeliever would be allowed to be quickened (made alive) with Christ.

Please go to the book of 1 Corinthians.

Not Imputing Their Trespasses Unto Them
2 Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

God the Father, reconciled the world (everyone) unto himself by the death of his Son on the cross. Reconciliation in this context doesn’t imply universal salvation. It means that the enmity between God and man, sin, which began the instant when Adam ate of the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden, was placed on his Son, who became a sin offering for all mankind (the sin of the world, past, present, and future were placed on him meaning that He bore the punishment due to them in his body).
And then we are told that God the Father did not impute the trespasses of sins against anyone of the human race. The words “not imputing” in respect to transgressions (sins) has a few meanings. It means to not punish them with unmitigated severity for their crimes76; to not count against … not keeping of records of commercial accounts,…not to keep a mental record of; …not keep an account of human failings77. To sum this up, God the Father through Christ’s suffering and death on the cross obtained pardon and forgiveness of sin for everyone. This is called the unlimited atonement.

Are there any other verses which indicate that the forgiveness of sins took place on the cross?

To Put Away Sin
Hebrews 9:24-26

These verses are contrasting Old Testament sacrifices with the one sacrifice of Christ. And what they convey to us is this. Christ is not entered into the man-made place, i.e. the Holy of Holies the inner sanctuary of the tabernacle or temple, which is the antitype or copy of the true sanctuary, the heavenly sanctuary to present himself before God the Father on our behalf. He is not as the high priest going to offer himself for sin over and over, as sacrifices for sin were needed to be offered since the world began, but now at the conclusion of the Jewish dispensation he appeared on earth to put away sin by allowing himself to be put to death on the cross.

26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

We are told what his sacrifice or death on the cross accomplished i.e. to put away sin. This signifies a few things, all sins of every person he bore; the sin-offerings under the Mosaic Law are to be no more; and the sins of all mankind have been forgiven. Is it true that his sacrifice was for all, both believers and unbelievers?

To address this, please go to 1 John 2:2.

And He Is The Propitiation
1 John 2:1-2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

If any of us sin, we have an advocate, Jesus Christ, who pleads our case by speaking on our behalf as to our character. He goes between us and God the Father in order to restore friendly relations. And he is also the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins having paid the penalty for the sins of the whole world, thus appeasing or satisfying the wrath of God whose standard had been violated; and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world.
Wow! What we can conclude from these verses is that Christ’s death on the cross satisfied God’s justice, paid the penalty for sin, and forgave sin for both believers and unbelievers. What does this mean, it means sin is no longer the issue as far as to whether an unbeliever will enter heaven or not. Is what I just said a shocker to you? Entering or not entering heaven is not based on sin, but repentance and belief.

So, what do you think, was sin forgiven at the cross for all mankind?

The answer is yes. Therefore, the forgiveness of all sin has been taken care of once and for all. With this in mind, where does water baptism fit in? In other words, what is its purpose? Is this a necessary part of the salvation process? Does it forgive sins? Let’s find out in the next chapter.

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Did Christ provide for the forgiveness of all sins on the cross?