Archive for March 2010

I Am … Who and What God Says I Am! – The Divine Reckoning of the Renewed Mind, Part 11

March 31, 2010

I Am … Called

Among whom are you also the called of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:6).

… Who are the called … (Romans 8:28).

This is who and what Father says I am.

I am called.

Those who trust God are “The Called” – they are God’s elect. This calling is an election to divine service.

Knowing, brothers beloved, your election of God (I Thessalonians 1:4).

Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? (Romans 8:33).

… That the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him Who calls (Romans 9:11).

God has not saved me, and called me with a holy calling simply to abandon all the rest of mankind to eternal torment. I am but a part of the first-fruits of Christ’s redemptive work. By His calling of grace I am one of His first-trusters. God’s ultimate plan includes all of His creation. None will be permanently lost.

God does not currently seek to reveal Himself, nor His plan to the masses. If it was His purpose, He would have accomplished it long ago. He has actually taken elaborate steps to assure that He and His plan are sufficiently hidden from the masses.

… You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to babes (Matthew 11:25).

But they understood not this saying, and it was hidden from them, that they perceived it not … (Luke 9:45).

Instead, God chooses who He wants to receive His revelation at this time.

… All men cannot receive this saying, except they to whom it is given (Matthew 19:11).

God’s plan upon the stage of human history initially is to reveal Himself to a few – the remnant, the called, the elect. This is why my salvation and calling is “according to His Own purpose and grace,” both of which were given to me “before the world began.”

Who saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our performance, but according to His Own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began (II Timothy 1:9).

God draws those He has chosen, whether in His past dealings with Israel, or His present dealings with the members of the Body of Christ.

Israel

… The Lord your God has chosen you to be a special people unto Himself, above all people who are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people; for you were the fewest of all people (Deuteronomy 7:6-7).

O you seed of Israel His servant, you children of Jacob, His chosen ones (I Chronicles 16:13).

You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you … I have chosen you out of the world (John 15:16, 19).

The Body of Christ

According as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4).

… God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth (II Thessalonians 2:13).

God’s calling has always been to a few. The reason that God has only called a few during the course of human history is that He is calling out a small company of servants for His name.

The called are the stage-setters of all God’s future purposes. He has called a few whom He is preparing to rule with Him, serving the rest of creation. A survey through the Scripture’s use of the word “chosen” will reveal that God’s calling is clearly one to service:

… God has chosen him out … to stand to minister in the name of the Lord … (Deuteronomy 18:5).

… Them … God has chosen to minister unto Him … (Deuteronomy 21:5).

… Them has the Lord chosen … to minister unto Him … (I Chronicles 15:2).

… He has chosen Judah to be the ruler … (I Chronicles 28:4).

… He has chosen Solomon … to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel (I Chronicles 28:5).

… The Lord has chosen you to stand before Him, to serve Him, and that you should minister unto Him … (II Chronicles 29:11).

… My servant whom I have chosen: that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He (Isaiah 43:10).

Behold My servant, Whom I have chosen … (Matthew 12:18).

… I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain … (John 15:16).

… He is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name … (Acts 9:15).

Isaiah 43:10 is of particular significance to me as to my calling in relationship to God Himself.

… My servant whom I have chosen: that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He (Isaiah 43:10).

Father has chosen me to draw me into personal relationship with Himself. He has chosen me for the purpose of knowing Him, believing Him, and understanding Him. This is my calling.

Many are satisfied to learn about Him, the chosen are given the heart to actually know Him. Paul wrote,

That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death (Philippians 3:10).

Father is now tutoring me for service in the “heavenly places.” I am part of the Many-Membered Christ, the Firstborn. This calling provides me with a rich catalog of Scripture truth:

I am the Called of Jesus Christ

Among whom are you also the called of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:6).

I am Called into the Fellowship of Jesus Christ

… Called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord (I Corinthians 1:9).

I am Called into the Grace of Christ

… Called you into the grace of Christ … (Galatians 1:6).

I am Called to Peace

… God has called us to peace (I Corinthians 7:15).

I am Called unto Liberty

… You have been called unto liberty … (Galatians 5:13).

I am Called into God’s Kingdom

… Who has called you unto His kingdom … (I Thessalonians 2:12).

I am Called into God’s Glory

… Who has called you unto His … glory (I Thessalonians 2:12).

We are Called into Christ’s Glory

… He called you … to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (II Thessalonians 2:14).

I am Called by Paul’s Gospel

… He called you by our gospel … (II Thessalonians 2:14).

My Calling is a Divine Vocation

… The vocation by which you are called (Ephesians 4:1).

Mine is a High Calling

… The high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).

Mine is a Holy Calling

… Called us with a holy calling … (II Timothy 1:9).

My Calling was Predestinated

… Whom He did predestinate, them He also called … (Romans 8:30).

My Calling was Before the Foundation of the World

According as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world … (Ephesians 1:4).

My Calling was from the Beginning

… God has from the beginning chosen you … (II Thessalonians 2:13).

Mine is a “Not Many” Calling

… Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called (I Corinthians 1:26).

Mine is an Out-Calling

… The body, the church [i.e., the ecclesia – the called-out-ones] (Colossians 1:18)

My Calling is Established upon God’s Faithfulness

Faithful is He Who calls you, Who also will do it (I Thessalonians 5:24).

God is faithful, by Whom you were called … (I Corinthians 1:9).

Mine is a Permanent Calling

… The gifts and calling of God are without repentance (Romans 11:29).

Mine is an Unalterable Calling

And we know that all things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

My calling is one of the most amazing and glorious truths of my relationship with God. This catalog of the details of my calling is pregnant with divine richness.

I am who and what Father says I am.

I am called.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2010

I Am … Who and What God Says I Am! – The Divine Reckoning of the Renewed Mind, Part 10

March 29, 2010

I Am … Complete

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Deity bodily. And you are complete in Him, Who is the Head of all principality and power (Colossians 2:10).

This is who and what Father says I am.

I am complete.

Could there be any more beautiful words to my ears then “complete in Him”? What more could I ask for? What is it that I long for and desire that is not contained in this immensely rich little phrase – three simple words that are the very key to my life: “complete in Him.”

I am complete in Christ and need nothing else. I am filled with His fullness. It does not say that I ought to be complete in Him; it says I am complete in Him. Completion cannot be made any more complete. There are no ordinances, ceremonies, experiences or efforts that I need to be added to the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Noah Webster defines the English word complete as “Having no deficiency; perfect.” He then cites: “And ye are complete in Him Who is the Head of all principality and power” (An American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828).

The Greek word used for complete is pleroo. It is defined by James Strong as “to make replete, i.e., (literally) to cram” (#4137). Thayer’s Lexicon gives these rich definitions:

To make full, to fill up, i.e., to fill to the full … to fill to the top: so that nothing shall be wanting [lacking] to full measure, fill to the brim … to carry through to the end, to accomplish, carry out.

In 1955 William B. Hallman wrote about this completeness in Christ:

The greatest discovery that any human being can make is the discovery of the all sufficiency of Christ … Christ is all, and in Him we have all …

“Complete in Him” – Nothing can go beyond completeness. You can add nothing to it. You might well try to purge a sunbeam, or purify the whiteness of the newly fallen snow as to add to what is already perfect. It is not only true that “all fullness dwells in Him,” but also that we are “complete in Him.” (Complete in Christ, reissued in the Bible Student’s Notebook #182, 2009).

What can be added to me that I do not already possess in Jesus Christ? Nothing! All that is left for me is maturity in Him.

The only difference between an oak seed and a mighty oak tree is time. The oak seed is as complete as the massive tree. The seed embodies in full the reproduction of the life from which it came. The seed is complete and can never be improved or enhanced. The only difference is growth.

I will simply appropriate what I have in Christ alone and, by faith, live accordingly. I will grow in the knowledge of Him as I progress in spiritual maturity – but all along the journey my completeness exists in perfection and fullness.

It is futile to attempt to add anything to my completeness in Him. I will rest in it.

I am “complete in Him.” I am who and what Father says I am.

I am complete.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2010

I Am … Who and What God Says I Am! – The Divine Reckoning of the Renewed Mind, Part 9

March 28, 2010

I Am … Righteous

For He has made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (II Corinthians 5:21).

This is who and what Father says I am.

I am righteous.

Having been justified I am now right before God. I have been declared and constituted righteous before the just God of the Universe.

Etymology of Righteousness

Right – (root) noun – meaning: in accordance with justice.

ous – a suffix added to nouns to form adjectives – meaning: full of (examples: mountainous – full of mountains, envious – full of envy).

ness – a suffix added to adjectives to form nouns – meaning: state or condition (example: happiness – the state or condition of being happy, gracefulness – the state or condition of being graceful).

Thus justification is my state or condition being fully “right.”

The Definition of Righteousness

The character or quality of being right or just. – W.E. Vine, Vine’s Expository Dictionary

Being what is just and right. – E.W. Bullinger, Critical Lexicon

I was void of any righteousness of my own. God made me righteousness: He made me His righteousness. I was “made the righteousness of God in Him” (II Corinthians 5:21).

I am His righteousness, because God says this is who and what I am.

… The righteousness of God, which is through Jesus Christ’s faith, for all, and upon all them who believe … To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He may be just, and the Justifier of him who believes in Jesus (Romans 3:22-26).

And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through Christ’s faith, the righteousness which is from God through faith (Philippians 3:9).

Other Scriptural Words Associated with My Righteousness Received from God

I am Sanctified:

… Sanctified in Christ Jesus (I Corinthians 1:2).

I am Holy and Blameless:

According as He has chosen us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4).

I am a Saint

… beloved by God, called saints … (Romans 1:7).

I am not, as so many Christians say, “just a sinner saved by grace.” I am a saint, who has been made the very righteousness of God.

I am who and what Father says I am.

I am righteous.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2010

I Am … Who and What God Says I Am! – The Divine Reckoning of the Renewed Mind, Part 8

March 28, 2010

I Am … Justified

… Being justified by His grace … (Titus 3:7).

This is who and what Father says I am.

I am justified.

I have been made righteous by God. This is what the word “justify” means. Justification is a judicial term of righteousness.

Justification’s Definition

Absolution [the sentence of a judge declaring an accused person innocent] from guilt and punishment … an act of free grace by which God … accepts [one] as righteous on account of the atonement of Christ. – Noah Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language (1828)

The act of pronouncing righteous. – W.E. Vine, Vine’s Expository Dictionary

Constituted righteous. – A.E. Knoch, Concordant Keyword Concordance

Justification’s Etymology

Just – (root) adjective – meaning: righteous.

fy – a suffix used to form a verb – meaning: to make.

tion – a suffix used to form a noun from a verb – meaning: state or condition of being.

Thus justification is my state of having been made righteous.

The Source of My Justification Is God

… That He may be just, and the Justifier of him who believes in Jesus (Romans 3:26).

Who will lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God Who justifies (Romans 8:33).

The Means of My Justification Is Grace

Being justified freely by His grace … (Romans 3:24).

Being justified by His grace … (Titus 3:7).

My justification is totally apart from the works of the law.

Therefore by the deeds of the law, there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin … Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law (Romans 3:20, 28).

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ … That no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, is evident: for, ‘The just shall live by faith (Galatians 2:16; 3:11).

The Ground of My Justification Is the Obedience of Christ

For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One many are made righteous (Romans 5:19).

Being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:8).

The Basis of My Justification Is the Blood of Christ

… Being now justified by His blood … (Romans 5:9).

The Extent of My Justification Is Total and Complete

By Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses (Acts 13:39).

There is no area of my life that has been left out of being justified. This far more than forgiveness. Justification is not being pronounced “forgiven” or even “innocent,” but “righteous!

The Guarantee of Justification Is the Resurrection of Christ

Who was delivered for our offenses, and raised again for our justification (Romans 4:25).

The Results of Justification Are Peace and Freedom

Justification gives me peace.

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).

Justification gives me freedom from condemnation.

… Judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses to justification. For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they who receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ. Therefore, as by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men to justification of life (Romans 5:16-18).

Now that I have been declared judicially righteous, I can never have a judicial charge of offense filed against me.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus … Who will lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God Who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ Who died, or rather who is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also makes intercession for us (Romans 8:1, 33-34).

I am who and what Father says I am.

I am justified.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2010

I Am…Who and What God Says I Am! – The Divine Reckoning of the Renewed Mind, Part 7

March 26, 2010

I Am … Beloved

But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brothers, beloved by the Lord, because God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth: To which He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (II Thessalonians 2:13-14).

My heart is humbled and thrilled every time I read this passage. These two verses are overflowing with meaning and wealth. In them Paul talks about who and what I really am, and he starts with this tremendous truth: I am “beloved by the Lord.

“Beloved” in this passage is the same Greek word (agapao) that Paul used in Ephesians 1:6, that I am “accepted in the Beloved.” My union in the Lord Jesus Christ not only means that I am “accepted” in Him, but that I too am now “beloved.

Noah Webster defines “beloved” as “greatly loved; dear to the heart” (American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828.)

The Greek word agapao is defined as,

decided preference to one person out of many – E.W. Bullinger, Critical Lexicon.

finding one’s joy in someone – Spiros Zodhiates, Complete Word Study Dictionary NT.

to have preference for … unwilling to abandon … or do without – Joseph H. Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon NT.

When Paul uses the word “beloved” (agapao) here in II Thessalonians 2:13, it was not a slip of the pen. The fact is that he uses this word in reference to the saints many times!

But in all these things we are more than conquerors, through Him Who loved us (Romans 8:37; c.f. Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 2:4; 5:2, 25; I Thessalonians 1:4; II Thessalonians 2:16).

To use Webster’s definition of beloved, I am greatly loved by God; I am dear to His heart. I will bask in this glorious revelation!

To use Zodhiates’ definition, God finds His joy in me. To use Thayer’s definition, Father is unwilling to do without me!

Father’s heart toward me is way beyond “love;” I am His “beloved.”

Now that’s grace! – and it is amazing!

This is who and what Father says I am.

I am beloved.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2010

I Am … Who and What God Says I Am! – The Divine Reckoning of the Renewed Mind, Part 6

March 25, 2010

I Am An Ambassador

And all things are from God, Who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be reconciled to God. For He has made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (II Corinthians 5:18-21).

I am an ambassador. This is who and what Father says I am.

In II Corinthians chapter five Paul presents the issue of ambassadorship. Representing Christ, as an ambassador (“in His stead”), is not a religious activity, it is a way of life. Ambassadorship is not something I “go do.” It is simply being a daily, living vessel – a channel of divine life to the darkened world. It is allowing Christ to use me to manifest His love and the message of redemptive work to mankind.

I am not here to manifest the lives of other believers or their ideas, however spiritual they may be. My mimicking of them and their techniques only aids in the creation of the air of phoniness. Indeed, to do so is acting like something I am not. Instead, I am to manifest Christ; or rather, He is to manifest His life through my own unique personality and circumstances!

I have not been called to impose the gospel upon those around us. I simply expose it to them through the life of God in me. Even the Lord Jesus Christ, during His earthly ministry with Israel, spoke of being “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). It is interesting that He should use that particular type of analogy. He did not choose to use an expression such as “hunters of men.” Yet much of modern “evangelism” has become a hunt – cold, hard shots at the victims – and once they are taken, another one can be “racked up on the wall.”

Paul speaks of being “in Christ’s stead.” Christ is to be made manifest in me (II Corinthians 4:10-11). This manifestation is of the life of Jesus. The “life of Jesus” usually brings to mind the four “Gospels” (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John); but there is another manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ’s life that is going on today! There is a modern “life of Jesus” being lived. It is the manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ through me, in the flesh (my body).

… That the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body … That the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh (II Corinthians 4:10-11).

The purpose of God is to manifest the life of Jesus in me. This does not mean that the four divine biographies of Jesus (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are without value to me. One of their benefits is that I can learn about the quality of the “life of Jesus.” The doctrine of His “kingdom of heaven” teaching to Israel does not void the quality of His manifest character. Quite the contrary! The Lord Jesus Christ was very human and interesting!

Some of the words that could be use to describe Him would be: real, enjoyable, personable and winsome – He was often a supper guest, and children were brought to him. He was compassionate, loving, caring and sympathetic. He was open, accessible and responsive. He was perceptive and observant. He was passionate and fervent. At times He was even exasperating and controversial. He was often painfully frank and outspoken (Matthew 23). He had, by the standards of many, a tacky (if not contemptible) taste in friends (Matthew 9:10-11). His friends were lepers, harlots, drunks and fishermen (Matthew 11:19). He was a carpenter! In this sense He was such an ordinary man. He labored with His hands as a commoner. This was the venue of God’s life manifest in the flesh.

Much can be learned from His life in the Gospels. I can learn the freedom to be human and still have the life of God manifest in me. For example, the account of the woman at the well as recorded in John chapter four. The Lord Jesus Christ effectively communicated with her. Three words could be used to describe the manner in which He achieved this. He observed, related and stimulated.

Christ first observed the woman. She came for water. He then related to her. He identified with her pursuit of water. He asked for water. He then used the relationship (i.e., the common denominator) – the need of water – to stimulate her. He baited her, He did not hunt her. He stirred her natural curiosity. He spoke to her of her interest, of their mutual interest, and then of “living water.” All of this was done in the casual, natural context of normal, daily life. He did not rush, He did not push. He did not cram, He did not slam. He did not hunt: rather, He fished – and carefully note the use of the analogy: while “fishing” implies an active participation and interaction, it also requires a patient waiting before results may be realized.

God has not called me to the pushy, forceful, overbearing, obnoxious, scripted salesmanship of professional religious “evangelism.” He has called me to a unique manifestation of the life and love of His dear Son – in all of my faults, failures and brokenness – in the details of my ordinary life. I am not trying to get anyone to “do” anything. I am simply encouraging others to “be” – “Be reconciled to God.”

I have been given the glorious “ministry” and “Word” – not of condemnation – but of “reconciliation.” I give others the glorious good news of what God has already done for them. I encourage them to simply “be” – to “be” in relationship to God what He has made them to be: “reconciled.”

I am an ambassador.

This is who and what Father says I am.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2010

I Am … Who and What God Says I Am! – The Divine Reckoning of the Renewed Mind, Part 5

March 24, 2010

I Am … Alive

I am alive. This is who and what Father says I am.

Although I had been dead in my relationship with God, I am now alive unto Him.

And you has He revived, who were dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1)

Even when we were dead in sins, has made us alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2:5).

And you, being dead in your sins … has He made alive together with Him (Colossians 2:13).

This changes everything. I am now:

… alive from the dead … (Romans 6:13).

… Alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2:5).

Now my life is no longer my own, but,

… Christ lives in me … (Galatians 2:20).

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

This being true, if I want to get to know who I really am, I’m going to have to get to know the Lord Jesus Christ – my true life! His life is real, meaningful life – Divine life; life that can be lived and enjoyed daily! It is His life that brings me into living union with Father.

… Alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord … (Romans 6:11).

C. Baxter Kruger writes of Christ’s life in us,

He wants us alive with His knowledge of His Father’s heart, filled and overflowing with His peace and unearthly assurance, free from our imprisoned darkness, free to care, free to forgive, free to love, free to know and be known. He wants us free to give ourselves for others, and free to receive their self-giving in fellowship. His passion is that we experience, in our relationships with one another and with the whole creation, the life He has with His Father … – Across All Worlds: Jesus Inside Our Darkness, 2007, page 64.

The truth of Who He is is the answer to my own identity. It forever removes my “need” to constantly evaluate, analyze or go over the past to get to know myself. Christ frees me from all of this!

This is who and what Father says that I am. With His life,

I am alive.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2010


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