Aug 16

IS “IN CHRIST” EQUAL TO BEING “IN THE TEACHING OF CHRIST?” (2)

The question under which this article is being written, is a most challenging one, to say the least! It is one that many have not even thought of. On the subject of questions, questions are a good way to advance one’s study. As questions open areas of thought, that have not come before us before. Questions take us deeper into the subject, whatever it may be. At the same time, there are some people who are fearful of questions, as they are afraid of the what the answer to the question maybe. In other words, some people are happy with the present knowledge, though it is incomplete!
At the same time, some folks believe they know it all, and have no desire to search, even for a better understanding of the subject. This state might be stated in the following; they are quite happy in their “knowledge” of the subject and do not want to be disturbed. Even a question, in regard to a subject, is unwelcome to some, as they have believed it, their parents believed, and if they changed what they have believed, it might mean that they are lost, the parents are lost and this is more than they are willing to consider!
With the above thoughts in our minds, we shall attack the subject: “IS “IN CHRIST” EQUAL TO BEING “IN THE TEACHING OF CHRIST?” Having written six articles addressing the subject, “WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE IN CHRIST?;” we have at least gained a little better understanding of what it means to be “in Christ.” In the shortest answer, to be “in Christ” means that we are saved; having our past sins forgiven! At this point in our lives, our hearts/minds are filled with joy! For we have achieved the first goal in life; salvation! This helps us understand Paul’s words to the Roman church; as he wrote: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek”(Rom. 1:16). Why would one be ashamed of the gospel of Christ? First, it “it is God’s power unto salvation; that is the forgiveness of the sins we have committed unto this point in our lives. Second, it has brought us to an understanding and reality of a world undivided! For it has revealed unto us, that we must be one in spirit/mind, that all are equal before God: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28); and if one does not have this spirit, such a person cannot enter Christ. Paul also wrote on this subject: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor. 1213); thus, one is not “in Christ” if he has a superior spirit/mind, as “one spirit” is a requirement to be “in Christ.” So many times, this is not even thought of when we are baptized! Yet, it is like something that one does not think of but is known in the mind.
If we can separate “the gospel of Christ” from “the teaching of Christ,” only for the sake of understanding that “the gospel of Christ” is part of “the teaching of Christ.” (2 John 9). As it is good for the moment, to see that “the gospel of Christ,” first related to forgiveness of the sins that we have committed up to the time we “obey the gospel of Christ.” Having taken part of God’s power unto salvation, then, we move on in “the teaching of Christ” for our spiritual growth! As Peter’s last written inspired words state: “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Pet. 3:18) Indeed, this is a lifetime work! As we grow up into the fulness of Christ: “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23). Here the total surrender, as in full submission to “the teaching of Christ” is set before us! Christ is the head of his “body,” the church! Thus, all who are in the “body” are those who have enbibed, taken into their spirit/mind the surrender of the total self!
It is “hoped” that the reader is beginning to see that being “in Christ” is being in “the teaching of Christ.” It is totally unthinkable to believe that one can be “in Christ” and not in “the teaching of Christ!” What a grand subject: “IS “IN CHRIST” EQUAL TO BEING “IN THE TEACHING OF CHRIST?” Do you think that you can be “in Christ” but not “in the teaching of Christ?” Do you believe that you can be in “the teaching of Christ” but not “in Christ?” As the apostle wrote: “God forbid” (Rom. 6:2)!

Frank R. Williams

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Aug 09

IS “IN CHRIST” EQUAL TO BEING “IN THE TEACHING OF CHRIST?” (1)

Sometimes we read a verse or a phrase in the New Testament and we think we understand it; however, is this true? Well, yes, in many cases it is true, we do understand it! On the other hand, it may be the case that we have read it and heard it, so many times we now just read right over it without any thought at all.
In the last six articles I have written, the two words, “in Christ,” which have been at the heart of all six articles, in which I tried to get the reader to simply think! Questions were asked, in order to get the reader to think and just maybe, do a little study as to what it means to be “in Christ.” We do know somethings for sure; such as, Paul wrote: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27). In that, not only are we to be baptized “into Christ,” but in so doing, we have “put on Christ.” Well, just what does it mean to “put on Christ?” Is it any easier to be “in Christ,” than, it is to “put on Christ?”
For instance, Adam Clarke wrote this: “As many of you as have been baptized into Christ – All of you who have believed in Christ as the promised Messiah, and received baptism as a public proof (The word “proof” was in blue in the quote, frw) that ye had received Christ as your Lord and Savior, have put on Christ – …” Does he get the point of the words, “baptized into Christ,” correctly? Does it mean nothing, that New Testament says nothing about “a public proof that ye had received Christ as your Lord and Savior, have put on Christ!” Paul wrote, “As many of you,” as in no one else, “as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” With whom do you stand, with Adam Clarke or Paul?
Albert Barnes wrote this: “As have been baptized into Christ – Or “unto” (είς, eis) – the same preposition which in Galatians 3:24 is rendered unto) Christ. That is, they were baptized with reference to him, or receiving him as the Saviour; …” (Barnes Notes on the Whole Bible). When it comes to the Greek word, “eis,” the text must be allowed to determine if the word should be translated it “unto,” or “into.” Unto is forward looking, that is, a thing is done with a view to, receiving whatever the next words say. Where on the other hand, “into” is a present action! It is done now! Paul’s use of the word “eis” in the text before us and is followed with “have put on Christ.” These words are not forward looking but present looking. In other words, the person who has been “baptized into Christ,” is a person who has “put on Christ” at the same time; presently!
Strong gives us this, which will help us in our understanding of the words, “put on”, “in the sense of sinking into a garment.” The garment is fully “put on,” as Christ is fully “put on!” When is Christ put on? Christ is “put on” when a person is “baptized into Christ.” “Putting on Christ,” takes place and only takes place, when a person is “baptized into Christ,” and at no other time or no other way! Question, is a person saved at this very time? Yes! The person who has been “baptized into Christ,” has “put on Christ” and is saved at that very moment! Please understand, you cannot physically see Christ being put on at this moment! Fact is, you cannot see it at all. Yet, Clarke wrote, that one “received baptism as a public proof that ye had received Christ as your Lord and Savior, have put on Christ.” I am sorry, but this is not what Paul wrote! It is not being mean spirited, it is not being ugly, to write a truth! It is done to save souls from an eternal hell.
Here are the words of A.T. Robertson: “did put on Christ” … “This verb is common in the sense of putting on garments … He does not here mean that one enters into Christ and so is saved by means of baptism after the teaching of the mystery religions, but just the opposite.” (Robertson Word Pictures in the New Testament). Robertson and others who believe the same thing, would have us believe that a person may have “put on Christ” but that Paul “does not here mean that one enters into Christ and so is saved by means of baptism …” Just what do the words, “have put on Christ,” mean? Robertson would have us believe, that the words, “have put on Christ,” do not mean it; they do not mean that one has “put on Christ!” This is the case, even though he understands the true meaning of the word, as he wrote: “in the sense of putting on garments.”
Well, we have not answered our question, but we have learned a few things about what others teach on this verse and it is not what Paul wrote! The key words are those who “have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” If one has “put on Christ,” that person is saved, as salvation “in Christ” and the only way “into Christ” is to be baptized “into Christ!”
Before concluding this article, why will people write volumes teaching what Paul did not teach? If one has been “baptized into Christ” and by that act, such a person has “put on Christ,” and that such a person is clothed in Christ, that person is saved. Just how could such a person be lost at that moment?

Frank R. Williams

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Aug 02

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE IN CHRIST? (6)

It is here we ask that the reader recall the thoughts of the first five articles. To be sure such is a daunting task! As we study the subject under which we have written, it is good to recall the words of Jesus: “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:14). In other words, only a few souls/spirits will seek out the “strait” gate with its “narrow” way in order to be saved! This is because of the nature of the strait and narrow!
May we just here, put the “all spiritual blessings,” with Paul’s words to Timothy, as they also tell us what God has done: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). God has not left out one thing that we need in being pleasing and acceptable to him “in Christ!” Do you count these as spiritual blessings? If not, you should! God has already given all these things to mankind that are needed to be acceptable to him and to get us “in Christ!” In the words of Christ, “the teaching of Christ,” God has given all that “thoroughly furnished” us, “unto all good works!” The “good works” which are acceptable to God are all “in Christ!” Oh, we have been so blessed! Do you count these as spiritual blessings? If not, you should! God has already given all these things to mankind and as a child of God, we are enjoying them now!
Much more could and should be written about the subject of what it means to be “in Christ!” After all, God saw fit to give us twenty-seven “books” to cover the subject! At the same time, we must not “divorce” ourselves from the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament! For as Paul wrote: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4). However, we must move on in our study.
We have arrived at the place and time to answer the all-important question: “How does one get into Christ?” After all, if we could understand all there is to understand about what it means to be “in Christ,” yet it would not benefit us, if we did not know how to get “into Christ!” All that we might know about the blessings that come from being “in Christ,” would all be/would go for nothing; if we do not know how to get “into Christ!” Paul answers our question: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27). Let us back up one verse, which reads: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Why were the “we” of the text children of God? Please notice that verse twenty-seven begins with that little word “For” and this is the Greek word “gar,” which is “A primary particle; properly assigning a reason.” (Strong). What is the reason “ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus?” It is that “we have all been baptized into Christ” and with that, we have “put on Christ!” Yes, here it is! No one who has not been “baptized into Christ,” has “put on Christ” and there is no salvation to anyone who has not “put on Christ!” Of course, it is understood, that those who are not accountable are not under such words! It is so sad that so many, even the majority, refuse to accept the words of Christ as the Holy Spirit put them in the “pen” of Paul! It is not that the words are hard to understand, but it is that a doctrine, other than that of Christ, has been believed and accepted beforehand! Such people have hardened their hearts against “the gospel of Christ,” which is God’s power unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). Yes, here it is! No one who has not been baptized “into Christ,” has “put on Christ” and there is no salvation to anyone who has not “put on Christ!” Some will say, well this/that is just too hard, and I will not accept it! People have trained themselves to never get “out-side” their own doctrine! They refuse to “think,” which is a necessary requirement, if one is ever to get “in Christ;” if one is ever to “put on Christ.”
In conclusion, to this series of articles, it must not be overlooked that Paul used the words “in Christ” at the end of verse three (Eph. 1:3)! Though the blessings were for all mankind, it remains a fact, that only those who are “in Christ” receive them! Once more we turn to the words of Albert Barnes: “The leading thing on which the apostle dwells is God‘s eternal purpose – his everlasting counsel in regard to the salvation of man.” But it is once more pointed out that the “blessings” are received only by those who are “in Christ,” those who have “put on Christ.” This “purpose” is based upon one thing: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Or as Paul wrote: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Rom. 5:8-9).
For these reasons we, who are “in Christ,” who have “put on Christ,” should be ever ready to worship God, “in spirit and in truth: (John 4:24), as we offer our humble thanks to him for his love! It was this love that was the cause behind God’s action of providing the means of salvation “in Christ!”

Frank R. Williams

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Jul 27

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE IN CHRIST? (5)

What a grand subject, “What does it mean to be in Christ?” Is there a greater blessing, than to be “in Christ?” I think not! That is, if we understand what it means to be “in Christ.” In this fifth article under the above heading, we will continue to look at this grand subject! Following the conclusion of these articles, we will have a series on the subject: “IS ‘IN CHRIST’ EQUAL TO BEING ‘IN THE TEACHING OF CHRIST?”
The motivation to be “in Christ” comes from the fact that all those who are not “in Christ,” are lost, save those who are not of accountability. In doing “personal work” as we sometimes call it, this subject should be addressed! Therefore, what does it mean to be “in Christ?”
If there is an urgency to be “In Christ,” and there is, there must be a reason(s), that is greater than all other things, to study it! Man has many opinions to entertain his mind and desires other than being “in Christ” but not one of them or all of them put together can come even a “fortnight” in closeness! Turning here our attention to the beautiful words found in Ephesians chapter one, verse three: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” No matter how one looks at these words, it must be a thrill to the heart, to the depth of its ability to reason!
In the simple thought, God has blessed his people; and the saved today are his people! The text is not without debate, however, as to just what it means. Young’s Literal translation of this verse reads: “Blessed (The Greek word “eulogetos” which comes from the root word “adorable, added by frw) is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who did bless us in every spiritual blessing (The Greek word, “eulogia” which will be looked at later in this article, added by frw.) in the heavenly places in Christ.” What is the point, just here? It is to call attention to the past tense of the text, as in “did bless.” It is not looking at future blessings, but at those blessings that God has already given to those who are “in Christ.” There is a relationship between these words and the words which follow. The following words are: “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world (kosmos) (Please note, Paul used the “word” (kosmo) and not the word earth (ge) frw), that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (verse 4). Here is what Albert Barnes wrote: “The meaning of this phrase is, that God has laid a foundation for gratitude for what he has done. The ground or reason of the praise here referred to, is that which is stated in the following verses. The leading thing on which the apostle dwells is God‘s eternal purpose – his everlasting counsel in regard to the salvation of man.” (Notes on the Whole Bible). It will help if our minds go all the way back to Genesis, chapter three and verse fifteen: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” These words introduce mankind to God’s plan of salvation and we must see that it is much larger than what we generally refer to as the “The five steps of salvation.” (May I add, as we deal with this thought, that there is nothing wrong with using these words!) All things which God had prepared for the salvation of man, is included in the words, “all spiritual blessings!” Thus, God the Father is to be praised by man! Mankind should fall upon bended knees and worship at the throne of God!
Are we beginning to get the idea, as to what it means to be “in Christ?” We are those who have received “all spiritual blessings in Christ.” Therefore, let us rejoice! Nevertheless, it must never be forgotten that “all spiritual blessings” are “in Christ!” So, when we ask: “What does it mean to be in Christ?” The answer is that those and only those, who are “in Christ,” are the ones who have received “all spiritual blessings!” Paul is not writing about what the saved will be receiving but he is addressing those “spiritual blessings” which have been received by the child of God. The text is not forward looking in this sense but backward looking; as in “hath blessed!” In that Paul used the word “blessed,” just what does this word mean? The word is most interesting! It is the Greek word “eulogia” and means: “elegance of language; commendation” among other things (Strong). Thayer would add to the thoughts, these words: “an invocation of blessing, benediction” (Among other things). This word itself, points to the end, as in “eulogy” which is given at the end of life, and not at the beginning. Thus, the word “blessing” is addressing what has already been given and received by those who are “in Christ!” The child of God, therefore, should never be found, looking for a reason to be grateful to God, not thanking God for what he/she has received!
More will be written on this part of the subject in the next article! However, we have been given much to think about and study about in this article!

Frank R. Williams

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Jul 19

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE IN CHRIST? (4)

Having reached the conclusion that the physical body of Jesus is no more, as the eleven watched him, “he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9) and Son of God took his rightful place, as he: “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3). There Jesus will remain, “till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:25-26). Therefore, so long as death is present with us, Jesus will remain “at the right hand of the Majesty on high!”
Paul will help us understand the nature of the change, from the physical body to the spiritual body. As he wrote the Corinthians, and it is necessary to remind the reader, that Paul writing to children of God; about the two different bodies: “And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Cor. 15:49). This was also true of Jesus, he had an “earthy” body but as he left this earth, he underwent a change, from the “earthy” to the “heavenly.” Paul went on to write: “It is sown a natural (in the grave, frw) body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” (1Cor. 15:44). Now we have written all this to help us understand that no one can be in the physical body of Jesus, as “in Christ,” as it is no more! This being true, when we write/talk about being “in Christ,” the subject must be about his spiritual body and not his earthy body! However, even this causes us to question, just what spiritual body are we addressing!
Are we addressing Jesus’ spiritual body which is in heaven, where he is seated “at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” or does the question relate to another spiritual body and not the personal spiritual body? This brings before us to our question: “What does it mean to be in Christ?” The phrase “in Christ” or its equal is used about twenty-seven times (according to one count) by Paul in his letter to the church at Ephesus. In this regard, Paul wrote to the Romans: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1). What a powerful statement! Nevertheless, we still need to know what it means to be “in Christ?” To the called out in Ephesus Paul wrote: “to the faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1). Looking at the letter to the Ephesians, let us note the following: “in him” (verse 4), “In whom” (verse 7), “In whom” (verse 11), “In whom” (2:21), and “In whom” (2:22). The antecedent to these pronouns, used by Paul, is Christ! As we try to understand what it means to be “in Christ,” this should help: “This expression ‘in Christ’ is one of the hinges of the epistle….denoting the intimate vital union through faith between Christ and his people” (The Pulpit Commentary). The expression, “in Christ,” refers to what?
As we think on these things, The Pulpit Commentary, when writing about being “in Christ,” denotes “the intimate vital union through faith between Christ and his people” (The Pulpit Commentary) gets us away from the thought, that we are some how in the spiritual body that Jesus has as he is seated “at the right hand of the down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” The writer correctly noted that it is “through faith,” and this brings us to the fact, that faith comes by means of the report of the inspired writers in the New Testament! Separate and apart from the inspired writings, “the teaching of Christ,” no one can be “in Christ!” To be “in Christ” is tantamount to being in his teaching, and not the spiritual body seated “at the right of the Majesty on high!” The called by the gospel of Christ are also called into the gospel of Christ and out from among the lost and into those who are saved here on earth! Now get this please, this spiritual body is not made up of our physical bodies, but our spirit/soul!
This is a point that is so often missed, it is just not understood; it is not our physical body that is saved, but our spirit/soul, that is saved! If we read the New Testament while applying the beautiful text to our physical body, we are going to think incorrectly, and we have missed “the teaching of Christ” (2 John 9). In Christ is spiritual and not physical! There is no greater question than: “How does one get in Christ?” Boldly, it is written here, that no one of accountability, is saved who is not “in Christ!” Thus, can there be a greater subject, a more important question: “How does one get into Christ?”
As it is learned, how one gets into Christ, it will also be understood what it means to be “in Christ?” May this get under your thinking caps, as into your mind; salvation is “in Christ” or is not out of Christ? Most of the world is out of Christ and this goes hand in hand with Peter’s statement when writing about those who were saved physically during the flood: “while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” (1 Pet. 3:20). Sadly, but true, most of those who have lived and will live, are lost! If this is sad to your ears, think how sad it is to God!

Frank R. Williams

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Jul 12

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE IN CHRIST? (3)

If salvation is outside of Christ, then, our question is totally unimportant! If, on the other hand, if salvation is in Christ, then, our question: “What does it mean to be in Christ,” is most important! The key word in these two “if” impossibilities, is the little word “in;” as “in Christ!” The New Testament is not content to leave us without the needed information about being “in Christ” and salvation questions. However, our question does lend itself to greater study.
If salvation is “in Christ,” and it is; then, for sure we need to know how to get into Christ. At the same time there are other questions that come to mind. These questions are: 1) Do the words, “in Christ,” mean that one is “in” the literal body of Christ?” 2) If not the literal body of Christ, then, what body are we to be “in?” and 3) Can we locate the body of Christ that we are to “in?” And you thought the subject was one of simplicity!
Let us take these questions one by one. Number one being, “Is salvation in the physical body of Jesus?” We can follow the physical body of Jesus from one place to another and we can learn what happened to Jesus’ physical body. After living on this earth for about thirty-three and a half years, Jesus stood before Pilate to be judged by men. One of the greater thoughts here is, that Deity in the flesh, the physical body of Jesus was in fact, judged by men! It is not out of the question, that mere mankind would think that of judging Deity! When Jesus stood before Pilate, it was to be judged! Notice how the stubborn Pilate handed this “trial.” After talking with Jesus and asking him questions, he brought Jesus out to stand before the Jews. But, he did not have Jesus stand alone. No, he brought before the Jews a man by the name of Barabbas. Pilate’s thinking was simple and full of wisdom, but it only brought out the hatred of the Jews toward Jesus. Here is Pilate’s question: “Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?” (Matt. 27:17). Here in these two men, we see the greatest and the lowly. Barabbas was well known by his actions. In fact, Matthew used the word “episemos,” which means: “having a mark on … infamous.” Here is what took place as Pilate: “Said unto them, Ye have brought this man (Jesus, few) unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him: No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him” (Luke 23:14-15). Jesus was found innocent regarding the charges of which he was accused; not only by Pilate but also by Herod! Here let us notice a little more about this Barabbas; as Luke wrote about him: ““(Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.)” Barabbas was more than a thief, he was a “murder!” But, the hatred of the Jews was so great, that the truth mattered not to them; therefore, they said unto Pilate: “But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him” (Luke 23:21). With this, Pilate:” … released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will” (Luke 23:25). With this, Jesus was taken to a place “called Calvary,” or “Golgotha” which meant, “skullas” as used by Matthew (27:33). With this the physical body of Jesus was crucified (Matt. 27:35).
However, as we all know, Jesus’ physical body was then take down from the cross, and as Matthew informs us: “When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: “ He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus” “ Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed” (Matt. 27:58-60). Therefore, the physical body of Jesus rested in the sepulcher, but for only a short time; as on the first day of the week, Mark gives us this: “when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him” (Mark 16:1). What did they find? Allow Mark to answer: “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, …” (Mark 16:9). It is important that we notice the clear words of Mark, as to when Jesus was resurrected: “risen early the first day of the week!” Jesus’ physical body was no longer in the sepulcher but, he, had “risen!”
After being in and out with the eleven for forty days, Luke wrote: “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9). With this, we learn from Hebrews that Jesus: “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb 1:3). No, the physical body of Jesus is not at “the right hand” of God! Why not? Simply because physical things, including the body of Jesus, are not suitable for the spiritual heaven!
The physical body of Jesus is no more! Therefore, no one can be in the physical body of Jesus but if not the physical body of Jesus, then in what body of Christ is salvation located; if it is?

Frank R. Williams

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Jul 06

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE IN CHRIST? (2)

In dealing with the question: “What does it mean to be in Christ?” We are looking into the subject of salvation, itself. Please answer this question: “Do you think you can be saved out of Christ?” This question is asking, “Are you saved by Christ or without Christ?” Here is another way the question might be put forward: “Can you be saved without the blood of Christ?” Well, here is one more question: “Can you be saved and not be among the saved?”
It appears that some folks believe they can be saved and have little to no fellowship with others who are also saved. At the same time, some seem to believe that they can be saved without the blood of Christ. It does stretch the mind to really think on such “belief.” Oh, they all think they are saved by Christ, but they are just not sure how it works! In other words, when does a lost person meet the blood of Jesus? You may have never thought about it, but no one ever encounters the physical blood of Jesus. So, you think you do! If so, just where is the physical blood of Jesus found? It was in the body of Jesus, it was on the cross upon which Jesus was crucified, and it was upon the ground beneath the body of Jesus. But the physical blood of Jesus has long disappeared from this earth! Oh, how we love to sing the old song: “Nothing but the blood of Jesus,” and then read: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7). Did you get the words, “redemption through his blood?” Redemption being the same as salvation; we can replace the words, “redemption” with the word salvation, as in, “salvation through his blood,” and not change the subject at all.
Do we all agree with the words, “redemption through his blood,” as used by Paul? Of course, we do! Then, we will agree with the words, “salvation through his blood,” but, just how do we come, how do we reach the blood of Jesus? We have now learned, that the blood of Jesus, by which we are saved, redeemed, is not by coming in contact with the physical blood of Jesus, but the blood of Jesus is located somewhere for our use and if we had to come in contact with the physical blood of Jesus just where would we go? If that were the case, all who would be saved, would have to take a trip to the location of the physical blood of Jesus and reach out and have it poured out upon us! No one, I mean, no one, believes such! Therefore, there must be a way to reach the blood of Jesus some how without having the physical blood of Jesus poured upon us! Let Jesus answer our delima; as we are saved, redeemed by the blood of Jesus without having the physical blood of Jesus. Here is what Jesus said as he was introducing the Lord’s Supper for the first time: “For this is my blood of the new testament …” (Matt. 26:28). The word, “testament,” would be better translated, “Covenant;” thus, it would read, “this is my blood of the new covenant! This new “covenant” would be the one of which Jeremiah wrote: “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah” (Jer. 31:31). Therefore, Jesus was speaking of the “covenant” of which Jeremiah wrote.
The Greek word from which we get the word “testament” is the same word that is translated “covenant.” The Greek is “diatheke” and is the Greek word used in Hebrews when the writer quotes the words of Jeremiah: “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people” (Heb. 8:10). The word “covenant” is the better of the two English words, as it conveys an agreement between two parties that have been made and the one who accepts the terms, then, obeys the requirements and receive the blessings within the covenant. In this case, it is an agreement between God, who gave the terms and conditions of the covenant, and the one who accepts and obeys the terms! There are conditions that God has put within his covenant, that man must accept and obey, if he/she is to receive the blessings of the covenant! In our case, we are looking at the covenant that God has made and wherein is the blood of Jesus! This covenant is here, as it is the “new testament (covenant) of the blood of Jesus (Matt. 26:28).
If you have read carefully the words of Jesus, as it is written: “he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:27-28). The word “for” which verse twenty-eight begins with, is the Greek “gar,” and is “A primary particle; properly assigning a reason.” Therefore, the reason Jesus had the disciples to drink of the “the cup,” is because it is the blood of Jesus which was shed unto the remission of sins!
The point that is so often missed is that “the new covenant/testament” is as Jesus said: “this is my blood of the new testament/covenant!” The blood of Jesus is in this “new covenant/testament! So, where do we find the blood of Jesus? It is in “the new covenant!” Do you think, believe, that you can be “in Christ,” and not be in the “the covenant” wherein is the blood of Jesus? May it not be so!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/what-does-it-mean-to-be-in-christ-2/

Jun 29

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE IN CHRIST? (1)

It is generally believed, that salvation is in Christ, and it is! But what does it mean to be in Christ? How do you get into Christ? These questions are most important to the person who is truly searching for salvation! It is understood at the beginning of this article, that some people will never change, as they are set in what they believe and do not have any desire to change! It is also understood at the beginning of this article that some people, who have their “feet” set in concrete and they have no question about the nature of the concrete! It will hold them, as they are saved in their mind and that is the end of the subject!
Some people believe what they believe and are happy to let you know, what they believe, and they are proud of it! They are quick to point to a passage of scripture, such as: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13). Never mind that this verse does not have the word “believe (faith) in it; though they believe that they are saved by faith only. Just say, “Lord, lord,” and you are saved! Have these folks never read the words of the Lord: “not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). These words of our Lord should at very least, produce a little doubt in any honest heart!
The Lord himself said: “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). Therefore, it is conceded that a lost person must believe that salvation is in Christ! With this truth set before us, we turn our attention to the subject, “What does it mean to be in Christ?” If one is “in Christ,” then, such a person is saved; that is, unless he is one who has returned to sin! The apostle Paul makes the following conclusion: “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). If one is “hid,” the Greek word being “sun,” which is “A primary preposition denoting union;” and the “union” is “with Christ in God.” The little word “in” used by the apostle is denoting a (fixed) position, that being in God! (Strong). Now notice how Paul appears to change subjects in these words: “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (verse 4). However, he has not changed subjects! But, the words of verse four being true; therefore, we should/must do what: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience” (verses 5-6). What once was, but is no longer, as the apostle continued: “In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them” (verse 7). Did you get it? What we once were, we are no longer; for we are in union, which is fixed, in God! It is necessary, just here, to make the point that Paul wrote, that we once “lived in them;” the “in them” are the sins just named. Some teach that one “simply commits” an act of sin in marrying one who was not put away (divorced) for some reason other than “fornication.” Then, it is taught that all such a person need do, is repent of the single act of “adultery.” Then, such may continue to live in such a marriage! However, Paul makes it very clear, that we, that is “ye lived in them,” and one of the things named is “fornication!” Just how does a person “live in fornication?” Does this mean that such a one, commits fornication twenty-four hours a day; or that he is one who freely commits fornication? You know the answer; to “live in” is to freely commits “fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection!
Now, returning to the point of our study: “What does it mean to be in Christ?” Being “in Christ” is also putting away: “anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth” (verse 8). If these things continue to abide in one, they serve as evidence that such a one is not in a “fixed union with Christ!” To put it simply, sin is not the manner of life of a person who is in Christ! So great is the difference between the life that was and the one that now is; the apostle describes such a one as “new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him!” (verse 10). The word “new” is the comparative with “youthful,” or regenerated (Strong). Speak of “the fountain of youth!”
Yes, to be in Christ means that one has undergone a spiritual renewing! The old man and his ways, have been thrown away, discarded as old warn out garments. Friends, does this sound like you!

Frank R. Williams

(Editor’s note: The subject of “How do you get into Christ?”, will be covered in a second article.)

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/what-does-it-mean-to-be-in-christ-1/

Jun 22

WHICH SIDE OF THE TRUTH ARE YOU ON: RIGHT OR LEFT?

The last four articles which have APPEARED on this page were about “truth!” With this in mind, it seemed only natural to ask the question under which this article is written. As teachers of a “by-gone-time,” used to say, “Class put on your thinking caps,” at which time the students were to be quiet, listen, and think!” This is no longer heard in the class room, as it is hard to get the class to be “quiet,” in the first place, and to get the class to “listen” is reaching for the near impossible, and to get the class to really “think” is simply out of the question!
It seems a good time to put before the reader the question: “which side of the truth are you on: right or left?” It is required, that the reader be keen of mind, as these words are “rolled” around in the mind. If you have given time to study and think about “truth,” and you should have, you should have said to yourself, “Truth does not have sides!” When the subject is the truth, the inspired word of God, there are no “sides!” It is true, that one may stand outside of the truth, on either the right or left of truth and one might stand outside of truth; on the “top” or “bottom” of truth! Therefore, the words of our question, “Which side of the truth are you on,” should have gotten your attention, at once! In other words, truth is truth!
No, it is not meant, that people do not stand on one side, left of truth or right of truth, but truth itself, does not have sides, as in “right” or “left. Think, as in “put on your thinking cap,” think of truth as a circle or a square, whichever you like, but have it be the truth! If you are on either side of it, you are not in it. Let me write that again: “If you are on either side of the truth, you are not in it!” Hear the apostle John on this subject: “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9). Notice the word, “transgresseth,” which is the Greek “parabaino,” and means: “1) to go by the side of” but not in truth! To “go by the side of,” in our case, “to go by the side of “the truth; now, if you are: by the side of” something, you are not in it! Second, the word also means: “to go past or pass over without touching a thing;” as to “go past” the truth, or to fly over it without ever touching it! Third, the Greek word means “to overstep,” as in “to overstep” the truth! Fourth, one may “depart, leave, be turned from” the truth. Finally, “one who abandons his trust” of the truth! (Thayer) Please notice, that each of the four, the words do not describe one who is in the truth but one outside of the truth!
By now, you must have gotten the idea; if you are on the right or left, top or bottom, of the truth, you are not in it! As for me, I have no desire to be anywhere but in the truth! I am going to stand, with both feet, in the circle of truth or the square of truth; however, you desire to describe it! Truth has limits! It does not run everywhere like “sorghum molasses!” Yes, sorghum molasses may run slowly, but it still runs! Truth does not “run!” It does not change today from what it was a hundred years ago or two thousand years ago! Of course, this writer is fully aware that some, and their “herd” is increasing today! As the old beloved preacher use to say, “There was a time when you could use a fine tooth comb and you could not find a “liberal,” but now you can take a hay rake and bail them up!” Don’t you “love” to hear: “You can catch more flies with honey!” I have always wondered, whatever gave those who use this phrase, the idea that we are not trying to catch “flies!” Listen to Luke as he writes about that great Pentecost day recorded in Acts two, as he covers those who obeyed the truth: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42).
Don’t be fooled, you can be on the right or left of the truth; you can be on the top or bottom of truth; but in either case you are outside of the truth! Friends, if the truth revealed what kind of music may be used in worship is “singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Col. 3:16), it is still the truth! If the truth revealed, two thousand years ago, that one who is yet in his sins, that he should be told: “be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Friends, with all of this old heart, I plead with you, that you stand, as in put both feet, in the unchangeable truth!
Frank R. WilliamsThe last four articles which have APPEARED on this page were about “truth!” With this in mind, it seemed only natural to ask the question under which this article is written. As teachers of a “by-gone-time,” used to say, “Class put on your thinking caps,” at which time the students were to be quiet, listen, and think!” This is no longer heard in the class room, as it is hard to get the class to be “quiet,” in the first place, and to get the class to “listen” is reaching for the near impossible, and to get the class to really “think” is simply out of the question!
It seems a good time to put before the reader the question: “which side of the truth are you on: right or left?” It is required, that the reader be keen of mind, as these words are “rolled” around in the mind. If you have given time to study and think about “truth,” and you should have, you should have said to yourself, “Truth does not have sides!” When the subject is the truth, the inspired word of God, there are no “sides!” It is true, that one may stand outside of the truth, on either the right or left of truth and one might stand outside of truth; on the “top” or “bottom” of truth! Therefore, the words of our question, “Which side of the truth are you on,” should have gotten your attention, at once! In other words, truth is truth!
No, it is not meant, that people do not stand on one side, left of truth or right of truth, but truth itself, does not have sides, as in “right” or “left. Think, as in “put on your thinking cap,” think of truth as a circle or a square, whichever you like, but have it be the truth! If you are on either side of it, you are not in it. Let me write that again: “If you are on either side of the truth, you are not in it!” Hear the apostle John on this subject: “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9). Notice the word, “transgresseth,” which is the Greek “parabaino,” and means: “1) to go by the side of” but not in truth! To “go by the side of,” in our case, “to go by the side of “the truth; now, if you are: by the side of” something, you are not in it! Second, the word also means: “to go past or pass over without touching a thing;” as to “go past” the truth, or to fly over it without ever touching it! Third, the Greek word means “to overstep,” as in “to overstep” the truth! Fourth, one may “depart, leave, be turned from” the truth. Finally, “one who abandons his trust” of the truth! (Thayer) Please notice, that each of the four, the words do not describe one who is in the truth but one outside of the truth!
By now, you must have gotten the idea; if you are on the right or left, top or bottom, of the truth, you are not in it! As for me, I have no desire to be anywhere but in the truth! I am going to stand, with both feet, in the circle of truth or the square of truth; however, you desire to describe it! Truth has limits! It does not run everywhere like “sorghum molasses!” Yes, sorghum molasses may run slowly, but it still runs! Truth does not “run!” It does not change today from what it was a hundred years ago or two thousand years ago! Of course, this writer is fully aware that some, and their “herd” is increasing today! As the old beloved preacher use to say, “There was a time when you could use a fine tooth comb and you could not find a “liberal,” but now you can take a hay rake and bail them up!” Don’t you “love” to hear: “You can catch more flies with honey!” I have always wondered, whatever gave those who use this phrase, the idea that we are not trying to catch “flies!” Listen to Luke as he writes about that great Pentecost day recorded in Acts two, as he covers those who obeyed the truth: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42).
Don’t be fooled, you can be on the right or left of the truth; you can be on the top or bottom of truth; but in either case you are outside of the truth! Friends, if the truth revealed what kind of music may be used in worship is “singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Col. 3:16), it is still the truth! If the truth revealed, two thousand years ago, that one who is yet in his sins, that he should be told: “be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Friends, with all of this old heart, I plead with you, that you stand, as in put both feet, in the unchangeable truth!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/which-side-of-the-truth-are-you-on-right-or-left/

Jun 15

TRUTH (4)

Let the banner of truth fly high and may it never be lowered! There are many flags that fly in our nation but the banner of truth, the flag of truth, must fly the highest and never be lowered! Of all the things in this world, not one of them nor all of them put together are as important as “the banner of truth,” the flag of truth!
It is a shame that the majority of this nation and indeed of the world, do not regard the truth as it should be. When the Lord said to the believing Jews: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). The truth, of which the Lord is addressing, is the truth that has the power to make one free of the consequences, “the wages of sin;” which the apostle Paul identifies: “For the wages of sin is death; …” (Rom. 6:23). The “death” of which the apostle is addressing, is separation from God, not only now but forever! Can you get your mind around this truth? Many, in fact, the majority of the people cannot; for if they did, they would obey the truth! Once more read the words of the apostle Paul, when he is writing about what will happen when the Lord returns; it shall be “In flaming fire taking vengeance!” (2 Thess. 1:8). Upon whom will “vengeance” be taken? It shall be taken upon those who: “know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:8). Now read just how long this “vengeance” shall be; “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (verse 9). It is hard, if not impossible, for the human mind to comprehend such thoughts! Just how do we express “everlasting destruction?” Writers over the years have used several expressions, as they have tried to reveal “eternity” but not one of them is satisfactory! Therefore, let it be said, it is not within the abilities of the human mind to understand “everlasting,” nor “everlasting destruction!” This reality does not change the truth, however!
Let us here look at the word, “everlasting.” It is the Greek, “aionios,” and means: “without beginning and end, that which always has been and always will be” (Thayer). There is not one thing, that the human eye has seen, nor ear heard, that is good enough to “wrap” the mind around and come out with a true understanding of the word “everlasting!” Strong gives us this word, “perpetual” but this does not allow us to truly understand the “everlasting?” No! There is truly nothing, that we know or that we can think of, that will give the human mind the ability to understand “everlasting,” “eternity!” With this, it is not hard to understand that no inspired writer even attempted to do so! They just, by the Holy Spirit, use words such as: everlasting and eternity. As we live upon this earth, we cannot totally get away from the “blessings” of God! In fact, it is by these “blessings, that we live! What are some of these blessings? They are such as: 1) the air that we breath, 2) the food that we eat, 3) the rain that we receive, and finally just here, the earth upon which we live! We did not have one thing to do with giving these blessings to mankind! At our birth, all of these and more are present, and humanity had not one thing to do with it!
Once more notice the words of the apostle Paul: “For the wages of sin is death; …” Just what does the word “death” mean? We all know about physical death, as it is revealed by James: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, …” (James 2:26). But even here, through the years, we have used different ways to identify “death!” For years it was when the heart no longer beats; but of late, death is determined by the brain, as is there any activity in the brain. Therefore, one can be “brain” dead, but the heart may continue to beat! Who knows how man may determine when a person is truly dead? As no one can see the “spirit” depart from the human body! For instance, has the “spirit” departed from the body when the heart stops beating; or does the “spirit” leave the human body when the brain stops working? Or will there be another means of determining when a person is dead in the future? Even this, apparently simple thing, will forever remain a mystery!
It is revealed, however, that as Jesus said: “the truth shall make you free.!” Not free from physical death but spiritual death. Death is always understood; in that it is a separation; as when the “spirit” departs from the human body. Thus, spiritual death is when the spirit/soul of man is separated from God! This occurs when we continue to sin! It is not seen but it truly takes place!
The “truth” of which Jesus is speaking in John 8:32, is addressing being free from the result of sin. The “truth,” not by itself, but when it is obeyed! We must know “the truth” before we can obey it!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/truth-4/

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