and they that murmured shall learn doctrine. ó Isaiah 29:24
So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense,
|August 14, 2012||
Volume 11 Number 16
Children of the Promise
The modern English definition of the word, "Christian," is "one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ"(see http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/christian). The word, "profess," however, has many different meanings, such as:
1 to receive formally into a religious community following a novitiate by acceptance of the required vows
2 a : to declare or admit openly or freelyb : to declare in words or appearances only
3 : to confess oneís faith in or allegiance to
Therefore, one that "professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ" does not necessarily mean that he or she actually believes those teachings!
In practice, a profession of Christianity may be made as a requirement for membership in a religious community, or it may also be made, even falsely, for the sake of appearance, for social, economic, or political purposes. As Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) so aptly explained to Lorenzo de Medici (1449-1492), whose son became Pope Leo X, the appearance of religious profession for those that desire to acquire and maintain power is more important than reality. He said that the most important quality of a "prince" is that he should "appear" to be religious:
...he should appear all mercy, all faith, all honesty, all humanity, all religion. And nothing is more necessary to appear to have than this last quality.... Everyone sees how you appear, few touch what you are....
(see Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince: A New Translation with and Introduction by Harvey C. Mansfield, Jr. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1985, pp. 70-71.)
Appearances derived from the righteous labels given to unbelieving professors of faith radiate an artificial light that appeals to physical eyes that are blinded to the emptiness of spiritually darkened hearts. Yahshua (Jesus) offered strongly descriptive words to describe the unbelieving scribes and Pharisees, who falsely professed to believe Yahweh and His word:
27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like unto whitewashed sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead menís bones, and of all uncleanness. -Matthew 23
Even though they professed their faith in Yahweh with their mouths, their hearts rejected Him and His word. Therefore, their fearful reverence toward Him was as Isaiah had described. It was based on the teachings of men, rather than on the Word of God:
13 Therefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: -Isaiah 29
Such are the ministers of Satan. They speak righteous words, glorifying Yahweh with their mouths while their hearts are far removed from Him. As "professing" Christians doing the work of the "angel of light," which many do not know is really Satan, they gain many followers:
14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also are transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. -2 Corinthians 11
Those that profess to be "Christians," but are not, seem to be much like those that claim to be "Jews," but are not. Yahshua says that those who blasphemously "say they are Jews, and are not" are "the synagogue of Satan:"
9 I know your works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but you are rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. -Revelation 2
Whether we claim to be "Christians," because of our profession, or "Jews," because of our physical ancestry, we are not the "children of God" unless we receive His promise. This is the promise that was made to Abraham before anyone was yet called a "Jew," a "Christian," a "Muslim," or any other modern religious label:
18 And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed my voice. -Genesis 22
This promise was passed on by faith, and not by inheritance through the law, until it was revealed in Yahshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ):
16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He said not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to your seed, which is the Messiah.
17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in the Messiah, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot annul, that it should make the promise of no effect.
18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. -Galatians 3
Those that reject this promise, regardless of their heritage or label, are "the children of the flesh" and those that accept it by faith are "the children of the promise:"
6 Not as though the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:
7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall your seed be called.
8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. -Romans 9
The children of the promise are the children of God. They are set apart from the children of the flesh by believing in the name of Yahshua (Jesus), with complete assurance that He is the manifestation of the fullness of the grace and truth of God:
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. -John 1
They have the power to "become the sons of God" because of the will of God according to the fullness of His grace:
16 And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. -John 1
The children of God are those that are born of God. In other words, they are born into His Spirit. Yahshua explains:
3 Yahshua answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus said to him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his motherís womb, and be born?
5 Yahshua answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a man is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. -John 3
The promise of Yahweh, which is received by believing the gospel of Yahshua the Messiah, is sealed by the "holy Spirit of promise:"
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in the Messiah.
13 In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of his glory. -Ephesians 1
The Holy Spirit of promise is the Spirit of God. Being born into His Spirit is essential for those that are to be counted as His children:
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Yahshua from the dead dwells in you, he that raised up the Messiah from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
13 For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: -Romans 8
Unless the Spirit of God, which is the Spirit of the Messiah (Christ), lives in us, then we are not His:
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if any man has not the Spirit of the Messiah, he is none of his. -Romans 8
The "children of the flesh," even if they call themselves "Christian," are not the children of God. His children are those that through His grace receive the promise of the Spirit of God by the power of His Spirit. Without physical works or titles, those who are the children of God are the children of the promise!
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