Our Divine Vocation

Posted September 10, 2014 by sandres2k8
Categories: Identification

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Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: knowing that whatsoever good thing any man does, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he is bond or free (Ephesians 6:5-8).

This is an amazing passage. In it Paul speaks to those who have the greatest disadvantage in their daily work – slaves. He covered the most extreme working conditions, so we would know that all work, no matter how difficult and trying, no matter how taxing and weary, can be done “as to the Lord, and not to men” – “whether he is bond or free.”

In fact, all we do is to be done “as to the Lord, and not unto men”

And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him … And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men … (Colossians 3:17, 23).

Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31).

Even the most severe of working conditions (slavery) can be conducted consciously for our Father. Our labors ultimately are to be for Him.

Paul wanted us to know something about our labor; for in the context of daily work he writes,

Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man does, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he is bond or free (Ephesians 6:8).

And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for you serve the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24).

Work which is done “as to the Lord” shall be rewarded. How can this not be, for with Him living and working through us, all of our labors are “the work of the Lord.”

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord (I Corinthians 15:58).

Our labors can be alive with the very life of God – they can be His livelihood in us.

All of life is about Him! Revel in it!

C2Pilkington-4Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies  © 2010

Forget It and Just “Be”

Posted September 1, 2014 by sandres2k8
Categories: Identification

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Norman GrubbThe truth you and I know is just that of “being” – recognizing that He and we are a unity, now forget it and BE!

We love to cover our central vacuum by some form of self-effort, and folks love it too, to give them a feeling of doing something to get where we can never get except by “being”!

Norman P. Grubb (1895-1993)
Notes From Norman

God’s Poem

Posted December 23, 2012 by sandres2k8
Categories: Identification

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Did you know that you were God’s poem?

Paul writes in Ephesians 2:10,

We are His workmanship (KJV).

We are His achievement (CLT).

We are God’s own handiwork (WNT).

F.B. Meyer, writing on this passage, says, “The word ‘workmanship’ in the Greek is ‘poem.’ We are God’s poems” (Back to Bethel, 1901).

Are you troubled and concerned about the direction of your life? You needn’t be. After all He is the Great Poet of your life. You are His beautiful poem; as Denis Durham has written in his wonderful song His Workmanship, “the years of your life form the stanzas, and the days form every line.”

It may at times seem as though this poem has no rhyme or reason; the divine lines can be painful, but He is directing all for your good (Romans 8:28) – all in His Own time, and in His Own way. You are His masterpiece of love. He is patiently shaping you; He is telling His story with your life.

Rest assured that you are like a building under construction, a painting yet wet and unfinished, a batter still being mixed, a tree that has yet to reach maturity, a tapestry still being woven. Await with patience the Master’s grand completion.

Being confident of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you, will perform it until the Day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).

No wonder Paul says,

Then do we with patience wait for it (Romans 8:25).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.

“I”

Posted December 23, 2012 by sandres2k8
Categories: Identification

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Some might be surprised when we consider the frequency of Paul’s usage of the personal pronoun “I.” Depending on the English version consulted, Paul uses the word “I” nearly 800 or upwards of 1200 times; and he uses the personal pronoun “me” on nearly 200 or upwards of 300 occasions.

Christianity sometimes can convey the idea that we have to give up who we are, that we lose our “I”; but the fact is that “I am what I am.” God has made me a person. “I am” a personality. God has made me so. “I” do not lose my personality “in Christ.”

“I” am very much “present” in my life, I am not “missing.” I have not somehow been replaced by Jesus Christ my supposed “Substitute.”

“In Christ” “I” am still very much present! “I” have not vanished. “I” have not gone out of existence. “I” am still very much alive. Jesus Christ is not my replacement. His has identified Himself with me in living union.

“In Christ” I am free from the seemingly independent “I” of Adam, to the unioned “I” with Christ.

I [a son of Adam] am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I [a son of God] live; yet not I [the “I’ of the old creation], but Christ lives in me [the me of the new creation]: and the life [the life of God] which I [the unique person God that has made me to be] now live in the flesh [right now, this very day] I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20).

“In Christ” I am actually now free to be myself, the real me that He alone has made me to be. Thus, Paul could actually freely use the personal pronouns “I” and “me.”

I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

To me to live is Christ (Philippians 1:21).

Clyde L.Pilkington, Jr.

I Am What I Am

Posted December 23, 2012 by sandres2k8
Categories: Identification

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By the grace of God I am what I am (I Corinthians 15:10).

“I am what I am.” This is the truth of Scripture! We are not self-created, self-made or self-determined. We are exactly what we are because we are the created, and we have so been fashioned. Being God’s creature He has made us precisely who we are.

Of course, in a larger context, He is continually making us who we are. That is, His achievement in all of us is an ongoing work that will find its final result only when He is completely done with His masterpiece.

The only thing that makes us different from the majority of those around us is timing. God’s steady work of creation has always involved the time element and, as in the resurrection, in every aspect of His work in all mankind – whether it is birth, realization of the truth, glorification, etc. – it is “every man in his own order” (I Corinthians 15:23).

We, who are the “Called” – the “First Trusters,” the “First Fruits” – are simply farther along in Father’s handiwork than the rest of His creation. He is doing an early work in us. Thus, at times His hand can be more easily identified in our lives than in those around us, and along with Paul we can – out of God-given faith – rejoice that, by Father’s grace we are what we are. It is only the timing of His grace that makes the difference.

Clyde L.Pilkington, Jr.

All Difficulties Removed

Posted March 19, 2012 by sandres2k8
Categories: Identification

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How can those who are “blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3); who are “chosen in Him before the foundation [overthrow] of the world” (Ephesians 1:4); who are “accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6); who have in immediate prospect the blessed promise of a prior resurrection or exanastasis, that resurrection out from among the dead, and a “calling on high” by Him (Philippians 3:14); who have their political status already, now, existing in the heavens, from whence we look for the Savior; not to judge us but to change us; not merely to raise us, and clothe us upon with spiritual bodies, but to transform our vile bodies and make them like unto His Own glorious body (Philippians 3:20-21) who are “perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:28); who have been “made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the holiest of all,” in the light of the heavenly Shekinah (Colossians 1:12); who “have the redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness [freedom] of sins” (Colossians 1:14); who “are complete in Him” (Colossians 2:10); to whom He says, “having forgiven you all trespasses” (Colossians 2:13) – how, we ask, can there be necessity for such to appear before the judgment-seat of Christ to be judged in respect of any imaginable thing whatsoever? Impossible.

Yet all of this wondrous standing, given to us in the riches and glory of His grace, is made of none effect, and is utterly lost to those who force themselves back into a position which obtained in a Dispensation which has passed away.

What despite is thus done to the grace of God! What loss is sustained by the doers thereof! What difficulties are thus created and thrust into the Word of God, and what vain and ceaseless efforts are made to get them out!

Whereas, once we rightly divide the precious “Word of Truth” according to its times and Dispensations, then not only are all of these difficulties removed from the Scriptures (difficulties which are the subject of the questions put by most inquirers), but we are free to learn something of the peace of God and the grace of God; what He has made Christ to be to us, and what He has made us to be in Him.

E.W. Bullinger (1837-1913)
The Foundations of Dispensational Truth, pp. 124-125
Bible Student’s Press (2011 Reprint)

Paul’s Roman Citizenship

Posted December 3, 2010 by sandres2k8
Categories: Identification

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Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned? (A.D. 58; Acts 22:25).

Some believe that passages such as this from the Book of Acts somehow show that Paul was advocating involvement in Gentile politics. However, things are not always as they first appear.

The Nature of the Book of Acts

One must be careful about establishing their doctrine from the Book of Acts. This book was not written by Paul, nor was it written to establish doctrine for the Body of Christ, nor was it designed to be a pattern for our practical living. Instead, Acts is a book that reveals the transitional history of the fall of Israel and the rise of the Body of Christ. To obtain truth for the church, the Body of Christ, one must turn to the epistles of Paul.

What Paul Was NOT Doing

Paul did, on occasion appeal to Roman law, but this can’t remotely be compared with being an active participant in influencing and determining governmental policy. Neither Paul nor Jesus ever tried to reform Caesar or the Roman government.

What Paul Was Doing

To understand what Paul was doing when appealing to Roman law, we need the historical background to understand the passages where Paul brings up the issue of citizenship (A.D. 59; Acts 22-25).

First, let’s realize that all throughout Paul’s earlier 20-year apostolic ministry as recorded in the Book of Acts he is never recorded as having made any such reference to citizenship, even in the face of severe torture. A Roman citizen was protected from such treatment, nevertheless without any apparent appeal from him he received 39 stripes on five different occasions, and was three times beaten with rods (all prior to A.D. 57; II Corinthians 11:24). So why does he suddenly change and make an appeal?

The background of events will provide us with the answer. Paul had for “many years” (Romans 15:23) desired to make a trip to Rome; but he had been “much hindered” (Romans 15:22) because of constant delays caused by persecution from unbelieving Jews. Paul planned to make a trip to Jerusalem to deliver relief that he had been raising for the poor saints there. His plan was then to move on to Rome after that, provided that he is “delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea” (Romans 15:31).

After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome (Spring, A.D. 54; Acts 19:21).

Paul wrote to the saints at Rome to inform them of his plans to come to them.

For I long to see you [the saints in Rome], that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, to the end you may be established. … I have been much hindered from coming to you; but now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come to you, when I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey … But now I go to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. … When I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come … And I am sure that, when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. … That I may be delivered from them who do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints; that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed (Spring, A.D. 58; Romans 1:11; 15:22-32).

While at Jerusalem heavy opposition broke out against him. Seizing upon an opportunity to be delivered from the unbelieving Jews so that he could finally take his ministry to the capitol of the Roman Empire, he simply inquired, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?” (Acts 22:25).

Paul appealed for the civil authorities to act in accordance with the law which bound them. He appealed to the principle of Roman law, an intervention that delivered him from the hands of the Jewish persecution. With his opposition constrained, Paul now only needed a means to get to Rome. He saw this opportunity in by exercising Roman rights to “appeal [his case] to Caesar (A.D.59; Acts 25:11). Relatively, the government saw Paul as a Roman citizen, and Paul related to their treatment of him as such – pressing upon them the standard of their own law – and as a result he was able to make his long-desired trip to Rome under Roman authority.

A Greater Revelation

Now, before we assume that statements found in the Book of Acts have some instruction for the believer to become political, we must first be careful not to anticipate revelation. This is a significant concern when reading the Scriptures. We need to recognize that Paul received an abundance of progressive revelations over his some thirty-year apostleship.

I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord … through the abundance of the revelations (Autumn, A.D. 57; II Corinthians 12:1, 7).

It must be remembered that even if Paul intended to advocate an earthly citizenship in the Book of Acts, later, upon receiving greater revelation from the Lord, he clarified the issue entirely. While in a Roman prison God gave him additional revelation which he recorded to the Philippians. This was a revelation of singleness of mind; and a Roman prison was quite an amazing place for such a celestial revelation.

For our citizenship is in heaven; from where also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (A.D. 62; Philippians 3:20).

Paul did not write, “one of our citizenships is in heaven,” or “we have another citizenship in heaven,” or “we have two citizenships, one of which is in heaven.” Instead he writes absolutely, and plainly of one singular “citizenship.” From his Roman bondage he boldly and without qualification declares this citizenship to be celestial.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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