Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Plan of God

Before you begin your Bible study, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, be sure you have named your sins privately to God the Father. 

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [Known, Unknown and Forgotten sins] (1Jn 1:9)

You will then be in fellowship with God, Filled with God the Holy Spirit and ready to learn Truth from the Word of God.

God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth. (Joh 4:24)

                                          The Plan of God

     THIS IS THE BEGINNING of a basic study course. Our textbook will be the Bible. God does not reveal His plan to us today through visions, voices, dreams, or any form of direct revelation as He did to the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles. The Scripture is our only source of information about God’s plan. All of God’s revealed Truth or Teaching is found in the Bible. So, familiarize yourself with the Scripture using, (Heb 4:12) as an example. This is an easy task since both the Old and the New Testaments are divided into “streets and houses.” Hebrews is the street; the house number is 4:12 — chapter 4, verse 12. Hebrews is found in the New Testament. If necessary, look up the street location in the index. You should not be embarrassed by doing so. Now before we begin our study, we should examine six introductory Propositions (Thoughts) about God. We are not seeking to prove them, simply to state them. These Propositions are a requirement to an understanding of the plan of God.


     The assumption that God exists is the foundation for this study. Whether or not you think God exists is not a concern at the moment. What should concern you is maintaining logical and clear Thought. If you say, “I do not believe God exists,” you are being arbitrary and foolish. (Psa 14:1; Psa 53:1-3) A logical statement might be, “On the basis of rationalism or empiricism, God does not exist.” But if you dogmatically say, “I do not believe God exists. . . ,” you demonstrate inconsistent thinking. If you truly do not think God exists, at least express the concept by making a statement that shows you are a logical thinker. There are three basic systems of human perception and two advanced:

1. Rationalism — perception through reason;

2. Empiricism — reality based on what you see, touch, taste, hear, and smell;

3. Faith reality based confidence in the authority and or truthfulness of another.

4. Occultism — realities based on demon and sin nature activity.

5. Spiritual Faith — the teaching ministry of Scripture during and after Salvation by God the Holy Spirit.

     At some time during your life you depend upon three basic systems of perception. But the system on which you rely the most will affect your grasp of Reality. Now when I say, “God exists,” I mean I believe by faith that He has always existed — not as a figment of my imagination, but as a Person who has no beginning or end. You may ask, “Who is God? What is God?” These questions can be answered because God has revealed Himself.


     If God exists, all-powerful and sovereign, then it follows that God had something to do with our being here. If God created man, logically He should reveal Himself to mankind. If God has always existed and He created mankind, then it follows that He will reveal Himself to mankind and He must reveal Himself in a way that man can understand.


     If you continue with this study, you will learn that God reveals Himself to us in a way that makes sense. And God makes organized sense because God is totally organized. And God’s organized sense is presented in the form of a plan we can understand.


     God not only has a plan, but His plan is perfect and His plan includes you! Proposition five, then, shifts from God to you.


     If you can say, “I am a person, I am a human being, I belong to the human race,” then you can say, “God has a personal plan for me.” That is why you are here on this earth.
Here is the point: If there is a God, if He has revealed Himself, if He makes sense, if He has a perfect plan, and if He has a perfect plan for every human being, including you, then you owe God a hearing!


     I want you to notice the word “hearing.” Nothing is required of you except an open mind. There are no gimmicks — I only want to give you information God has provided through the Bible. All you need to do is listen to what God says through His Word. You have nothing in this world to give to God except a hearing! Whether or not you listen is strictly your own choice. This may be quite different from what you expected, particularly if you have been exposed to “religion.” Religion is man’s attempt to gain a relationship with God or the approbation of God by man’s own works. Religion obscures the plan of God and deceives the human race. Religion was designed by Satan to make you hostile toward the Biblical plan of God. Notice, I said religion — not Christianity! Biblical Christianity asserts that only the work of God through Jesus Christ provides the means of Salvation and an eternal relationship with God. As the light of the world, Jesus Christ illuminates the plan of God. (Joh 8:12) Christianity proclaims God’s way of Salvation for the human race. Since the objective of this basic course is to develop the plan of God, let us review the points in our introduction.

1. God exists.
2. God reveals Himself.
3. God makes sense.
4. God has a plan.
5. We are the object of God’s plan.
6. We owe God a hearing.

     If you accept these propositions as true, then you recognize that God does have a plan for you. But, remember, God’s perfect plan must contend with our flaws, imperfections, and depravity. Our human sin nature is so far beneath God’s perfect standard of righteousness that we can have no fellowship with Him. Since we cannot associate with God in our Spiritually depraved condition, God must find a way to bring us to Himself. God designed a three-phase grace plan so we might approach Him.

Phase One: Salvation

Phase Two: Your lifetime as a believer

Phase Three: Eternity


     God’s plan for your life begins at the cross. The cross is the key to the plan of Salvation. When Jesus Christ hung on the cross, between heaven and earth, He was judged for every sin in the human race — past, present, and future. He became the substitute for our guilt; He received the penalty of sin; for us!

     He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the cross... (1Pe 2:24

     Any member of the human race can have an eternal relationship with God by simply believing in Jesus Christ as Savior.

     Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved. (Act 16:31)

     But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name. (Joh 1:12)

     The first phase of God’s plan reconciles the total depravity of man with His holiness, a word that refers to His perfect righteousness and justice. When teaching a basic Theology course, I usually begin by exploring the character of God, His Divine essence. This time I will begin with a study of our essence so we will know why God had to solve the problem of the barrier between the human race and Himself.


     I will begin with us, as we were at birth. We were not conscious of this Reality, but at the moment of physical birth we became a person with a soul. The left half and the bottom of the diagram shows the essence of the human soul at birth as it comes from God. The right side is after Salvation.


     When we were born, we were not aware of our existence. Later when someone called us by our name, we responded. If we see ourselves in a mirror, we associate our name with our face. Eventually we become aware of ourselves as an individual.


     Obviously, the mentality of a newborn baby is not developed; otherwise he could speak fluently at the moment of birth. Vocabulary must be learned; words must be put together. Remember, all conscious thinking is accomplished by means of vocabulary, so our vocabulary greatly determines our ability to reason.


     Volition is the decision-maker of the soul. A baby’s volition is completely controlled by his environment. Since he has no vocabulary, a baby cannot say, “I’m hungry.” All he can do is open his mouth and cry. When someone forgets to feed him or does not change his diaper, a baby’s volition becomes a vocal expression. But this is not a fully developed volition.


      I have tried to think back when I was a baby and remember what I appreciated. I do not remember anything. However, we do know babies have emotions. Apparently, some babies feel loved and others do not. Psychology tells us parent-child bonding has a profound effect on behavioral patterns in later life. Whether this idea is true or not, part of God’s design is the potential for emotional stability.


     A baby is born without teeth, but they grow in. Likewise, a baby is born without norms and Standards. You have a conscience at birth, but it does not contain one norm or Standard. These gradually develop through social, academic, and Spiritual training. Just as eventually you acquire teeth, eventually you develop norms and Standards. But those norms and Standards are flawed because of the old sin nature.


     The old sin nature utterly contaminates mankind so that no one can approach God’s perfect essence or please Him. Although not a part of the soul but the center of rebellion toward God, the old sin nature seeks to influence and control the soul. This depraved nature came into existence as a direct result of Adam’s first sin. The old sin nature portrays the disobedient trend of Adam in action after the Fall.

     Therefore, just as through one man [Adam] sin [The sin nature] entered into the world, and [Spiritual] death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned. (Rom 5:12)

     The sin nature is passed from the original parents through procreation to the rest of the human race and resides in the cell structure of the body. (Rom 6:6; Rom 7:5) With the exception of Jesus Christ, every person born has an active sin nature. I was born with one; you were born with one. The sweetest little baby you ever saw has a sin nature! Mothers may “oh” and “ah” over their babies saying, “Isn’t he beautiful!” “Isn’t she adorable!” “Look at my precious baby!” Do you know God’s attitude toward babies? I am going to shock you. Babies are unacceptable to God. We look at the physical appearance of a baby, but God sees the sin nature. So, no matter how many people admire the beauty and innocence of a baby, remember: Only one baby has ever been beautiful to God — Jesus Christ!
     The reason God found Jesus Christ beautiful and all other babies less than attractive is not because of how they look. Babies are unacceptable to God because they are Spiritually dead, born separated from God because of their sin natures. (Rom 5:12; cf., Eph 2:1-3) Jesus Christ was the only baby ever born without a sin nature and perfectly acceptable to God. (1Pe 2:22) Let us look at babies from God’s Viewpoint. I was born Spiritually dead; you were born Spiritually dead. With the exception of Christ, every person who has ever come into the human race, or who ever will, is born with a sin nature and, therefore, is born Spiritually dead!
     Some people have the erroneous idea that the first time you sin personally you die Spiritually. Not true! Even though you are born physically alive, at that same instant you are born Spiritually dead. But God does not condemn you for acts of personal sin. His attitude is not based on what you do, because as a newborn baby you have done nothing good or bad. God’s attitude is based upon the fact that your physical body is contaminated by the sin nature. After you begin to grow and develop, you begin to commit acts of personal sin. The first words you may say are “Mama” or “Dada.” Eventually you will say, “No, I won’t!” This is your volition responding to your sin nature. Every sin nature has many facets and produces extremes of both “morality” and “immorality.” Therefore, in order to understand yourself, you must understand your old sin nature!


     The sin nature has an area of weakness from which all temptation for personal sins originated, there are three categories of personal sins.

Mental Attitude Sins.

     What are mental attitude sins? Pride, envy, lust for someone or something, intolerant to being wronged, (Either real or imagined) discontent,  jealous, being unforgiving, having a grudge, being nosey and prying, wanting to get even, hatred, wanting to get over on, hostile, condemning, being selfish, deceiving, greedy, guilt feelings, fear, worry, anxiousness, self-pity, self-righteousness, (Thinking that we are better than others) etc. These are the worst kinds of sins because they can quickly become a cluster of sins destructive to the Spiritual life! Since we all possess a sin nature, each of us will sooner or later succumb to some of these mental attitude sins.
     Now, when I start to talk about sins, do not become defensive. If I “step on your toes” just remember I have not been following you around. One secret in learning is to “stay loose.” Relax! You may be a heavy mental attitude sinner. You are not alone. There is not one person in the human race, except Jesus Christ, who does not commit mental attitude sins periodically. Some Christians even become “chain-sinners.” However, the point I want you to remember is that this is a category of sin. What you think can be a sin a mental attitude sin!

Sins of the Tongue.

     This category includes badmouthing, judging, condemning, bullying, gossiping, to flatter and or lying, etc. You may wish to classify some of these as malicious slander. Notice how the tongue is described in the book of James:

     So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. (Jas 3:5-6)

     One match, one ember, and you can burn down a forest. That is the devastation of the tongue. One word can spark complete havoc in your life and the lives of others.
Overt Sins. Overt sins involve other people, just as do sins of the tongue. So obviously, other people will be affected by your sin nature. Murder, adultery and or fornication, drunkenness, stealing etc, are sins that the Bible names as sins. (Exod 20:13-15; Act 21:25; Rom 13:9) However, there are many overt acts which misguided and self-righteous people may call sinful, but the Bible does not. We will stay with what the Bible says.
     These questionable activities may amount to nothing more than taboos or personal prejudices. You may have taboos from your religious background, and you may honestly believe these taboos are sins. Just because you think something someone does is a sin does not mean God condemns it as sin. Neither is it sinful to wear red or black, nor to follow your own inclinations with regard to dress. And believe it or not, it is not sinful for women to dress attractively. Some of you will have difficulty with this because you have always considered women who wear certain types of clothing or makeup less than decent. You may have condemned women whom you consider to have stepped over the line of propriety. Such condemnation is an example of tabooism and personal prejudice, which falsely denounces Christians with tastes or backgrounds different from your own.
     Many of you have a happy personality and some of you have a sad personality. Some of you are intense, and some of you are naturally relaxed. Some are in-betweens, not quite happy and not really sad. The Scots call that “dour.” It is not a sin to smile; it is not a sin to frown. The Bible does not say, “Life for a believer is not a feather bed, brother; you had better put on a somber face. Never dare smile about anything because God abhors people who smile.” When Christians smile or seem to have a good time, tabooists may retire to a corner and say, “Look at those frivolous people; they are not very Spiritual, are they?”
     Your personality is not the measure of your Spirituality. This may not mean much to you now, but later this Concept will become meaningful. To have a vivacious or social personality is not a sin. The sin nature resides in every cell of the body. Just as the soul is invisible, the sin nature is invisible. Therefore, the sin nature tempts your soul in private. Likewise, your soul succumbs to or resists temptation in private. So, remember one word which we are going to emphasize — privacy. If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you are a priest, and you have a right to your privacy. As a priest you are responsible to the Lord for your sins, but to no one else. There is one Person who can see your sin nature, moment by moment, and that is God. Whenever you commit a sin, whatever the category, God can see the sin! (Pro 28:13)
Area Of Strength. In addition to sins from your area of weakness, the sin nature has an area of strength. Deeds that derive from the area of strength are called human morality. Morality can be accomplished by both the believer and the unbeliever using volition and determination, apart from the grace provisions of God. These grace provisions are the filling of God the Holy Spirit for the comprehension and application of Truth through grace. (Joh 4:23) Of course, God despises sin which comes from the area of weakness, but also, God is not impressed with human morality.

     (Isa 64:6) says: “... all our righteous deeds [Human morality] are like a filthy garment!”

     How can I illustrate God’s contempt for human morality? A dog goes # 2 on our lawn, and starts producing an aroma; so you apply perfume to it, now it smells much better; but what is the source! So if our sin nature smells better, what is the source! Next certainly all of you have had the experience of being around someone who was self-righteously proper. Did you appreciate them for it? Probably not! When I was growing up, my sister was this way. I can remember so many times when she was right and “rubbed my nose in it.” Of all the natural antagonisms I ever had, I remember this one most. I can recall clenching my fists as my father warned me, “If you ever lay a hand on her, you will regret it!” By every standard she was right, but I did not appreciate her self-righteousness. At some time in your life you have probably had the experience of hostility toward a person whose pompous attitude obscured their correctness.
     By way of example, that is how God looks at human morality: A right thing done in a wrong way an antagonizing display of self-righteousness. God cannot abide this attitude. He calls human morality “a filthy garment” a euphemistic expression for something far more repugnant. (A feminine menstrual garment)
     Let us say that at the time you believed in Jesus Christ you were twenty years old. Over that period of time you accumulated a number of sins and good deeds — say several thousand. The moment you accepted Christ as Savior, all those thousands of sins were blotted out. When Christ died on the cross all of those sins were poured out on Him and judged — every one of them. After you accept Christ, you may live another fifty years and commit many more sins and good deeds. Christ was also judged on the cross for those sins you commit after Salvation.
     When Christ paid for all of our sins on the cross, His sacrifice nullified human morality as a means of Salvation. Human morality represents our works of righteousness which are totally unacceptable to God for Salvation. (Eph 2:8-9)

     He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, [Grace] by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit. (Tit 3:5)

     Since we are saved by grace and execute the Christian way of life by grace, (2Pe 1:3-4) human morality is excluded from the plan of God. Religion usually promotes morality as a basis for gaining the approbation of God or being saved. The plan of God operates on Divine power, never on human ability! (Eph 2:10) All the human morality in the world will not save even one person or pass for Christian service! Only Divine Virtue produced in the power of God the Holy Spirit receives recognition from God as service. (Zec 4:6) God simply has no use for human morality to advance His plan. (Rom 8:8-14)
Let us also say that before you were saved you performed one hundred thousand deeds of human morality. After you were saved you performed a million more human “moral” deeds. Humanity may honor you for those deeds, but God will not honor any of them. Someday in heaven He will burn those deeds all the “wood, hay, and straw.” (1Co 3:12-15) He will burn all the human production — but not you. He will not allow one moral human deed into heaven? We are here to be Spiritual, (Rom 8:5) not moral or immoral!
     By now you should realize that you are carrying around quite a package in your body. But there is more. As if the areas of weakness and strength were not enough, every old sin nature also has trends.


     There are two trends in every old sin nature: One is toward asceticism; (Self-denial leading to self-righteousness, morality) the other is toward lasciviousness. (Self-indulgence leading to licentiousness, immorality) A person will generally move in the direction of his habitual trend when under the control of the sin nature. That is why there are ascetics on the one hand, and hedonists on the other. However, there is no fixed pattern. One can have a general trend toward asceticism and sometimes move toward lasciviousness, or be lascivious and suddenly develop an area of self-righteousness. This equals relative standards with no absolute! When you become a Christian, God does at least forty things for you, but there is one thing He does not do for you — He does not remove the sin nature! The day you accept Christ as Savior and become a believer, (Act 16:31; Joh 3:16; Joh 3:36) you walk right into the Christian life with your own personal sin nature. No matter which trend is dominant or how your sin nature operates, there is nothing you can do to remove it. (Rom 7:24)


     We need to examine another characteristic of the old sin nature — the lust pattern. What is lust? Lust is an illicit, sometimes insatiable desire. Desire is an intense motivator. Lust can consume you and can influence all your thoughts and actions. The most basic motivation is approbation lust the desire to be recognized, to promote oneself. (Jas 3:14-15) This is why youngsters dare each other to do certain things — to get attention among their peers. And adults with approbation lust are like children, even though the means of gaining attention may be more sophisticated. Everyone operates within his own framework to gain attention. For instance, recognition may commence with some spectacular physical, academic, social, or professional achievement. Such recognition becomes an all-encompassing motivator in life. Once you begin to get attention, this leads to power lust: you desire to organize people who give you attention so you can control and manipulate them. Sexual lust is often a substitute for romantic love. Materialism lust consumes many in our society with the desire for possessions. There are other lusts, but these are the basic ones.
     The sin nature inherent to mankind; is a constant, grim companion. But phases one and two of God’s plan provide a solution to the sin problem.


     People who believe in Christ have the privilege of entering immediately into phase two of God’s plan. God’s plan, called OPERATION GRACE, is designed for appropriating God’s happiness through learning and applying the Mind of Christ. (1Co 2:16) The Mind of Christ is available to every believer as the Word of Truth. Although the sin nature will never be removed or shed in phase two, (Rom 7:14-25) the ministry of God the Holy Spirit, (Gal 5:16) and growth in Truth, (2Pe 3:18) means progressively more time spent serving the Lord, (By staying in fellowship, and Thinking with His Thoughts) and sharing His happiness.


     At the moment of Salvation, when you believe in Christ, you are said to be “born again.” (Joh 3:7) The Theological term for born again is regeneration. You are reborn into the family of God; you are His child; you are made righteous because of the work of Christ on the cross. (Rom 3:21-22; 2Co 5:21; Php 3:9) But when we sin in phase two, the sin nature controls us, and we have no fellowship with God in that condition. (Psa 66:18) Regeneration makes us a new creature with a permanent family relationship with God, but we still have an old sin nature which tempts us to sin and lose fellowship with God. We can still be motivated by lust.
The encouragement of approbation lust may be instigated right from the beginning of the Christian life. Often new VIP (Very important person) believers are asked for a dramatic testimony on how they found Christ as Savior. Everyone wants to hear from the captain of the football team, the beauty queen, the successful professional, or the famous socialite. This may be good public relations, but it is not necessarily Christianity. This type of recognition could act as a catalyst to promote arrogance and stimulate the lust pattern. Just because believers are VIPs in the human realm does not make them more important in God’s view than an unknown individual who never receives attention from anyone. When “Mister Little” accepts Christ, he is just as important in God’s eyes as “Mister Big.”

     And opening his mouth, Peter said: I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears [Respects] Him and does what is right, [Executes the plan of God] is welcome to Him. (Act 10:34-35)

     Regeneration is Spiritual birth. (Joh 3:6) As a Christian in phase two, you have — borrowing an expression from a wedding “something old and something new.” The indwelling of God the Holy Spirit is brand new, but your old sin nature is an old holdover from your physical birth. As we enter our new life, God has provided marvelous assets. God gives us forty things which we never had before. These new assets make us “new creatures in Christ.” (2Co 5:17)
     You must understand that the sin nature has nothing God can use. A Christian’s life should operate on the basis of being controlled by God the Holy Spirit, When a person is controlled by his sin nature after Salvation, the Bible calls him a carnal Christian. “Carnal” is an old English word, a real antique. Over three hundred fifty years ago carnal meant fleshly, and “flesh” is sometimes a designation for the old sin nature. So, a carnal Christian is any believer you or me when he sins.
The first time you sin after being saved may shock you. After a while sinning becomes second nature. If you live your Christian life without Spiritual growth and by that I mean you never learn the Word you will cultivate and refine your old sin nature in carnality. For example, you might find out the ground rules in a certain local church — what people will accept and what they will not accept — so you can learn to hide your areas of weakness. If you are ignorant of Truth and of how to restrain the sin nature, you can develop into a first-class phony. Today, Christian hypocrisy is everywhere and any smart unbeliever can spot it immediately. New believers must, therefore, be taught that God has provided the means to avoid cultivating the sin nature. (Joh 4:23)


     Through learning Truth you can increasingly resist the constant temptation of the sin nature in your life! (1Pe 4:1-5) But sin will inevitably occur, (Rom 7:21-25) and when you sin you must learn how to escape the subsequent control of the sin nature. The bad news is that the sin nature cannot be eradicated. But here is the good news: We have the means of controlling our sin nature. Learning about flying an airplane provides a wonderful illustration. Your flight instructor initially takes you to an aircraft and says, “This is an airplane” — much in the same manner as when I said, “God exists.” Of course, you already know it is an airplane. It has basic controls — a rudder and stick, a bank indicator, and a throttle. As you are shown the various parts, the instructor explains, “This performs a certain function . . . that performs a certain function.” Eventually, you get into the plane where he shows you how to strap yourself in, and then takes you on a familiarization flight.
     In the course of flight school you must learn how to recover from a stall. And this recovery can be as dramatic as the instructor wishes to make it, depending on the nature of the aircraft and the instructor’s grit. Many instructors like to push the stick forward, go into a good dive, and then pull back on the stick, which makes the plane sit on its tail, while you sit there with your stomach pressed against your backbone. Then “Whoom,” you go into a hammer-head, a violent stall in which the nose of the aircraft drops past vertical and you end up on your back. Or the instructor may simply pull the throttle back, chop it off, and suddenly you can hear nothing but the wind — the noise of the engine is missing. Down you plunge as your stomach now goes to your head. Stall training can be sensational!
     A stall means the aircraft is not maintaining flying attitude. In other words, the plane has a bad attitude which could become instant disaster. Therefore, you must first learn to recover the right attitude. Why does the instructor teach you this technique first? So you will not break his neck, as well as your own. Flying a plane without knowing the stall recovery technique is courting disaster. Likewise, a believer trying to live the Christian way of life without knowing how to control the sin nature is in a stall. Like the untrained pilot, he faces disaster. That is exactly why I cannot teach you anything else until you know “stall recovery.”
     You do not learn to fly in a stall, in a dive, or in a spin; you learn to fly when the plane is moving on a normal course. In God’s plan you cannot learn Spiritual Thoughts when you are in a stall under the control of your old sin nature. You learn Truth, as we shall shortly see, only in the way that God has designed.
     Some Christians have the misconception that once you accept Christ your problems are over; you will never sin again and you will be happy. Consequently, when a believer without Truth fails, he may assume he was not really saved at all. He reasons he must have been mistaken. He does not understand that once he believes in Christ, in spite of subsequent sins and failures his eternal life can never be lost. (Rom 8:38-39) Believers who repeatedly question their eternal security will try different methods for reassurance and reaffirmation but never really solve the predicament. What is required to correct their misconception is the Doctrinal briefing concerning Corinthian carnality the apostle Paul gave in. (1Co 3:1)


     And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to Spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ. (1Co 3:1)

Paul is speaking here as a teacher to students, and he says, “And I, brethren.” The word “brethren” refers to persons who have made the greatest of all decisions — the decision to believe in Jesus Christ — to receive Him as Savior. Brethren refer to members of the family of God. We become members of His family by accepting Christ as Savior. (Gal 3:26) Just because the Scripture calls us brethren, does not mean you need to run around calling everyone “brother” and “sister.” The word brethren is significant only because it means that all believers are members of the same family.
     “And I, brethren, could not speak to you.” Here is Paul, the greatest teacher of all time, and he cannot speak. Why? Because these people were not Spiritual. Immediately you think, “Well, who and what is Spiritual?” You might even say to yourself, “I don’t feel Spiritual.” How does it feel to be Spiritual? Is it a dreamy feeling up on “cloud nine”? A consciousness of the presence of God? A satisfaction with your righteousness? Not at all! You are Spiritual when you are controlled by God the Holy Spirit, and how you feel has nothing to do with it. If you are in fellowship with God the Holy Spirit by means of; (Pro 28:13; 1Jn 1:9) He controls your life, and you are Spiritual!
     Spirituality is an absolute. At any moment you are either filled with or controlled by God the Holy Spirit, or you are controlled by the old sin nature. (Rom 8:4-8) You can be Spiritual with a sinus headache; you can be Spiritual and feel blue; you can be Spiritual and feel good; you can be Spiritual and sleepy; you can be Spiritual and alert. How you feel has nothing to do with Spirituality. Spirituality is the Holy Spirit’s control of your life. (Eph 5:18)
     You have to be controlled by God the Holy Spirit to learn and apply Truth and execute phase two, just as you have to be flying on a level course to learn and apply the principles of flying. The most difficult aspect of flying is holding to a straight course in crosswinds or bad weather. Likewise, Spirituality is maintaining your relationship with God under all circumstances! You cannot learn or apply or Think with Truth when you are controlled by the sin nature. Paul expresses his frustration when he says, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to Spiritual men, [A person controlled by God the Holy Spirit] but as to men of flesh.” [Carnal] Every believer is a priest, responsible for his own Spiritual life. And every believer-priest must learn the stall recovery technique in order to be controlled by the Spirit so he can learn and apply Truth. The Spirit teaches Truth (God's Thoughts) to our human spirit. (1Co 2:2-13) The stall in Spiritual growth is being out of fellowship carnal. (1Co 2:14) “Babes in Christ” means the Corinthian believers had not advanced in the Christian way of life because they were carnal.
     Let me illustrate with two circles. The top circle portrays eternal fellowship with God; the bottom circle, temporal fellowship with God. Every believer is put into union with Christ at the moment of Salvation and can never get out of the top circle; (Psa 37:24; Joh 10:28) you can never lose your eternal life. The bottom circle represents the Holy Spirit’s control of your life, and is called “fellowship” or “Spirituality.” Outside the bottom circle is where the sin nature controls your life, which is the state of “carnality.” So, the Spiritual believer is inside the bottom circle, and the carnal believer is outside the bottom circle of fellowship.


     Paul says, “When I am speaking to you and you are outside the circle of fellowship, I cannot get through to you. When you are in this circle of fellowship, I can get through to you.” (1Co 2:14-15 ; 2Ti 3:14) Paul cannot make them get back in the bottom circle. He cannot force them back into the circle. No one works his way back into the circle; no one goes through a system of penance or pays money to get back into the circle. Getting back into the bottom circle requires a stall recovery technique. We call that technique “rebound.”
Before you can learn Truth, you have to understand rebound! Paul says:

     I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able. (1Co 3:2)

     Paul really blasted the Corinthians. In effect he is saying, “Look, you are out of fellowship. You were not able to take in Truth, and you are still not able to take it in.” Then he adds: “For you are still fleshly.” (1Co 3:3)

     The moment you are born into the family of God through faith in Jesus Christ, God the Holy Spirit puts you into union with Christ. At the same time, you are under the control of God the Holy Spirit, inside the circle of fellowship in the status of Spirituality — until you sin. When you sin, out you go? You see, you still have your old sin nature. You stay out of the bottom circle when you commit sins, but you can recover at any time! You need to know how to go from outside the circle to inside the circle — from carnal to Spiritual. That requires the rebound technique. (1Jn 1:9) That is the stall recovery, and it is the basis for learning Truth. Rebound is the key to living in God’s plan and reaching Spiritual maturity. (Joh 15:5-8)

     For you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? (1Co 3:3)

     Paul describes a type of sin which the Bible condemns many times, jealousy. How did the Corinthians get out of the bottom circle? Jealousy! Jealousy is a mental attitude sin that produces a chain of sins. And once outside of the bottom circle strife develops. What is strife? Strife is disagreement and fighting. Because a person is jealous, he may become unforgiving and then seek revenge. Such a person wants to hurt, to badmouth, to blackball, to condemn; he generates an attitude of total hostility. What happens when a group of people are involved in sin? They start with mental attitude sins and end up with conflict. Strife is the complete antithesis of a relaxed attitude. Inside the circle of fellowship anyone can have a relaxed attitude. Outside the bottom circle believers are “tied up in knots,” or completely involved in their “carnal human life.” (Pro 1:32) This is why Paul could not teach Truth to the Corinthians. They had the mental attitude sin of jealousy, which converted to “strife and divisions.”
Paul continues: “...are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?” (1Co 3:3) What is the one possession you brought with you into the Christian life? Your old sin nature! Every believer does! The phrase, “walking like mere men,” means that you are out of the bottom circle. “Mere men” is simply a technical title for anyone who has not accepted Christ as Savior. In other words, you walk or live like an unbeliever. It may be a moral or an immoral unbeliever, a religious or a non-religious unbeliever, a foolish or a smart unbeliever but you live and think just like any unbeliever. So, the old sin nature is your enemy. But it is part of you — it is inborn. You will not be relieved of the sin nature until phase three. Therefore, God provided a stall recovery procedure called rebound. This technique is found in. (1Jn 1:9)


     If we confess our sins, He is faithful [Consistent] and righteous [Just] to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1Jn 1:9)

     Remember the twenty-year-old who committed thousands of sins before Salvation. His sins were all judged on the cross, and at the moment of Salvation they were all blotted out. He is in the bottom circle before he commits his first sin. His first sin may parallel the Corinthian sin of jealousy — a mental attitude sin. As soon as he becomes jealous, he is outside the circle of fellowship; he is carnal. He is in a stall. An act of jealousy never stands alone, but always leads to other sins; jealousy is part of chain-sinning. Although this believer is now carnal, he has not lost his eternal life. God dearly loved him when he was in the bottom circle; God loves him just as much outside that circle because he is still a member of God’s family. But at this point he will receive Divine discipline; he is going to be spanked.

     For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? (Heb 12:6-7)

     How does he recover? By using, (1Jn 1:9)!
The first word “if,” introduces what is called a third-class condition in the Greek. A third-class condition means you have to decide for yourself what you are going to do — use the volition of your soul. Every person can make positive or negative decisions. When you do what (1Jn 1:9) says, you exercise positive volition. Therefore, “if” means you may exercise either positive or negative volition; and the word “we” refers to all believers in Jesus Christ. Our next word is “confess.” This word simply means “to cite, to name or to admit.” Originally the Greeks used the term to mean “to cite a case.” The case referred to here is the cross. “Our sins” were judged on the cross, and we simply name or cite these sins privately to God the Father — not to anyone else. Why just to God? Because the person who is confessing is a priest (1Pe 2:9) and must deal directly with God. God always responds in grace and forgives us. Confession or naming your sins requires no penance. Confession does not even mean to feel sorry for the sin or to beg God for forgiveness. Just name the sin to God, privately. Why? Remember privacy? Every believer-priest must have his privacy to live his life as unto the Lord. David committed adultery, he murdered, he committed all kinds of sins. But when he finally rebounded, he said, “Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight...” (Psa 51:4) Sin is against God, an offense against the character of God. Other people may be involved in some way, but the believer-priest confesses directly to God the Father.

     “If we confess our sins, He [God] is faithful. . . .” “Faithful” means God responds the same way every time. He has never been inconsistent. Never! Faithfulness is one of God’s eternal characteristics: He is always consistent.
“He [God] is faithful and righteous [Just]. . . .” God is righteous and just because our sins were poured on Christ at the cross. (1Pe 2:24) God the Father judged every sin at that moment, and no believer will ever be judged for his sins again. Therefore, because of Christ’s work on the cross, God the Father is justified in forgiving our sins and His perfect righteousness is not compromised.
     “He is . . . righteous to forgive us our sins. . . .” “Forgive” means “to forget and to blot out.” God not only forgives the named sin, which we call a known sin, but at the same time He forgives all unknown sins. The last phrase, “and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” refers to all of our unknown sins.
This is our “stall recovery,” the rebound technique in summary. The Christian should always keep short accounts with God. When you sin, immediately use, (1Jn 1:9) so that you will be in fellowship and under the control of the permanently indwelling Holy Spirit. (1Co 3:16; 1Co 6:19) First John 1:9 is not a license to sin, but a license to serve. Rebound allows the believer to operate in the power of God the Holy Spirit to be filled with the Spirit, (Eph 5:18) to walk by the Spirit. (Gal 5:16-18) Rebound is the Divine asset which makes the Christian way of life function. This is God’s grace provision for the control of the old sin nature and the advance of His plan in phase two. (2Pe 1:2-11)

     Phase two of the plan of God provides every believer with a blueprint for the Christian life. But unless we understand who God IS, what His plan is and how to fulfill it; His plan remains confusing to us! None of us earn or deserve what God gives us; everything depends on His grace! In fact, a synonym for God’s plan is grace. The first step to glorying God in time is to consistently utilize the grace technique of rebound.
But God’s grace does not end with regeneration and rebound Exercising rebound is only the beginning. God has provided every Church Age believer with advantages and privileges that stagger the imagination. (Eph 1:3; Eph 1:18; Eph 3:20) Learning to use God’s grace provision should be the goal and purpose of every believer in phase two. Your Christian life cannot proceed to maturity without the Wisdom of Truth as your guide. God has freely given you riches beyond your wildest imagination. Only Truth reveals the treasures of God’s plan to you. As we advance from “babes in Christ” to Spiritual maturity, only then can we begin to “Fully Understand” and execute phase two in the plan of God. His Command is:

     Grow in grace and knowledge [Spiritual Thinking] of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. (2Pe 3:18)


     Phase three is guaranteed to every believer. (1Pe 1:4-5) At the moment you depart from this life, you are “face-to-face with the Lord.” (2Co 5:8) You will receive a resurrection body, a body like that of the resurrected Christ. That body will be without a sin nature, (1Co 15:35-49) and will forever free the believer from the slavery and imperfections of phase two. The Bible describes phase three in these words: And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain: the first things have passed away. (Rev 21:4) Relatively few descriptions of heaven exist in the Bible. However, from those which do exist we know His plan for our eternal future is far beyond our wildest expectations! Our heavenly dwelling places are described as “mansions.” In (Joh 14:2) The New Jerusalem, which comes down “out of heaven,” (Rev 21:2) is described as a city of pure gold with streets of gold, walls of every kind of precious stones, and gates of pearls. (Rev 21:16-27) Furthermore, every Church Age believer will be evaluated at the Judgment Seat of Christ, so they may be rewarded according to their “deeds.” (2Co 5:10)

     For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, [Divine Thoughts] wood, hay, straw [Human thoughts] each man’s work will become evident; for the day [Judgment Seat of Christ] will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; [Human thinking will be consumed, Divine Thinking remains] and the fire, (Joh 12:48) itself will test the quality of each man’s work. (1Co 3:12-14)

     The Judgment Seat of Christ takes place in heaven. The evaluation is made on the basis of each believer’s execution of phase two of God’s plan or his failure to do so. Sins are not judged since all sins were judged on the cross. (1Jn 2:2) Instead, believers are judged / rewarded by their production 30/60/100. (Mat 13:8) Rewards are called “crowns.” (1Co 9:24-27; 2Ti 4:7-8; Jas 1:12; 1Pe 5:4; Rev 2:10; Rev 2:28; Rev 22:16-17) These crowns are spectacular and eternal reminders of our phase two Spiritual growth and faithfulness in executing the plan of God.


     What is God’s plan for you following your personal faith in Christ? To realize the peace, happiness, and contentment that glorifies God from learning the Word of Truth and advancing to Spiritual maturity! Truth communicates God’s Word to you so absolute Truth becomes the measure of your conscience, Thinking and the source of your mental attitude. When you learn Who and what Christ IS; you can begin to share His Thinking. (1Co 2:16) God Commands you to Think with Divine Viewpoint, not human reality so His gracious purpose can be fulfilled in your life! (Rom 12:2) You continue to live after Salvation to fulfill your personal destiny to become a mature believer as an expression of God’s glory in both time and eternity. Only as a mature believer can you consistently glorify God by receiving the highest and best that He has prepared for you! (Eph 1:3-6) The quality and impact of your life on earth and your rewards in heaven depend on your execution of phase two! You advance Spiritually by consistently learning, Thinking, and applying Truth! Your persistent Spiritual growth from Truth resident in your soul expands your capacity for life, for love, for service, for blessings, for happiness!

     For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Php 4:11-13)



1. The believer resides in the eternal plan of God. (He shares the destiny of Christ) We are:
a. Foreknown: (Act 2:23; Rom 8:29; 1Pe 1:2)
b. Elected: (Rom 8:33; Col 3:12; 1Th 1:4; Tit 1:1)
c. Predestined: (Rom 8:29-30; Eph 1:5; Eph 1:11; 1Pe 1:2)
d. Chosen: (Mat 22:14; 1Pe 2:4)
e. Called: (1Th 5:24)
2. The believer is reconciled (Removal of the barrier between man and God)
a. By God: (2Co 5:18-19; Col 1:20)
b. To God: (Rom 5:10; 2Co 5:20; Eph 2:14-17)
3. The believer is redeemed (Purchased from the slave market of sin): (Rom 3:24; Col 1:14; 1Pe 1:18)
4. The believer’s condemnation, (Eternal judgment in the Lake of fire) is removed: (Joh 3:18; Joh 5:24; Rom 8:1)
5. All sins are judged by the substitutionary Spiritual death of Christ on the cross: (Rom 4:25; Eph 1:7; 1Pe 2:24)
6. Every believer receives propitiation for sins (God satisfied with the work of His Son): (Rom 3:25-26; 1Jn 2:2; 1Jn 4:10)
7. The believer is dead to the old life, (The old sin nature) but alive to God (Retroactive positional Truth) 
a. He is Crucified with Christ: (Rom 6:6; Gal 2:20)
b. Dead with Christ: (Rom 6:8; Col 3:3; 1Pe 2:24)
c. Buried with Christ: (Rom 6:4; Col 2:12)
d. Raised with Christ: (Rom 6:4; Col 3:1)
8. The believer is free from the Mosaic Law. He is
a. Dead: (Rom 7:4)
b. Delivered: (Rom 6:14; Rom 7:6; 2Co 3:6-11; Gal 3:25)
9. The believer is regenerated: (Joh 13:10; 1Co 6:11; Tit 3:5)
a. He is born again: (Joh 3:7; 1Pe 1:23)
b. A child of God: (Gal 3:26)
c. A son of God: (Joh 1:12; 2Co 6:18; 1Jn 3:2)
d. A new creation: (2Co 5:17;Gal 6:15; Eph 2:10)
10. The believer is adopted by God (Placed as adult sons because of positional Truth): (Rom 8:15; Rom 8:23; (Future) Eph 1:5)
11. The believer is made acceptable to God: (Eph 1:6; 1Pe 2:5)
a. He is made righteous: (Imputation) (Rom 3:22; 1Co 1:30; 2Co 5:21; Php 3:9)
b. Sanctified positionally: (1Co 1:30; 1Co 6:11)
c. Perfected forever: (Heb 10:14)
d. Qualified for inheritance: (Col 1:12)
12. The believer is justified (Declared righteous): (Rom 3:24; Rom 5:1; Rom 5:9; Rom 8:30; 1Co 6:11; Tit 3:7)
13. The believer receives the unique availability of Divine power: (2Pe 1:3)
14. The believer is guaranteed a heavenly citizenship based on reconciliation: (Luk 10:20; Eph 2:13; Eph 2:19; Php 3:20)
15. The believer is delivered from the kingdom of Satan: (Col 1:13; Col 2:15)
16. The believer is transferred into God’s kingdom: (Col 1:13)
17. The believer is now on a secure foundation: (1Co 3:11; 1Co 10:4; Eph 2:20)
18. Every believer is a gift from God the Father to Christ: (Joh 10:29; Joh 17:2; Joh 17:6; Joh 17:9; Joh 17:11-12; Joh 17:24)
19. The believer is delivered from the power of the sin nature: (Rom 2:29; Php 3:3; Col 2:11)
20. Every believer is appointed a priest unto God. We are:
a. A holy priesthood: (1Pe 2:5)
b. A royal priesthood: (1Pe 2:9; Rev 1:6)
21. The believer receives eternal security: (Rom 8:32; Rom 8:38-39; Gal 3:26; 2Ti 2:13)
22. The believer is given access to God: (Rom 5:2; Eph 2:18; Heb 4:14; Heb 4:16; Heb 10:19-20)
23. Every believer is within the “much more” grace care of God: (Rom 5:9-10)
a. We are: Objects of His love: Eph 2:4; Eph 5:2;
b. Objects of His grace (1) For salvation: Eph 2:8-9; (2) For keeping: (Rom 5:2; 1Pe 1:5) (3) For service: (Joh 17:18; Eph 4:7) (4) For instruction: (Tit 2:12)
c. Objects of His power: (Eph 1:19; Php 2:13)
d. Objects of His faithfulness: (Php 1:6; Heb 13:5)
e. Objects of His peace: (Joh 14:27)
f. Objects of His consolation: (2Th 2:16)
g. Objects of His intercession: (Rom 8:34; Heb 7:25; Heb 9:24)
24. The believer is beneficiary of an inheritance as heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ: (Rom 8:17; Eph 1:14; Eph 1:18; Col 3:24; Heb 9:15; 1Pe 1:4)
25. Every believer has a new position in Christ: (Eph 2:6)
a. We are partners with Christ in life: (Col 3:4)
b. Partners with Christ in service: (1Co 1:9) (1) Workers together with God: (1Co 3:9; 2Co 6:1) (2) Ministers of the New Covenant: (2Co 3:6) (3) Ambassadors: (2Co 5:20) (4) Living epistles: (2Co 3:3) (5) Ministers of God: (2Co 6:4)
26. Believers are recipients of eternal life: (Joh 3:15; Joh 10:28; Joh 20:31; 1Jn 5:11-12)
27. The believer is created a new Spiritual species: (2Co 5:17)
28. The believer is a light in the Lord (Part of the angelic conflict): (Eph 5:8; 1Th 5:4)
29. The believer is united with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are:
a. In God: (1Th 1:1; cf., “God in you,” Eph 4:6)
b. In Christ: (Joh 14:20; cf., “Christ in you,” Col 1:27) (1) A member in His Body: (1Co 12:13) (2) A branch in the Vine: (Joh 15:5) (3) A stone in the Building: (Eph 2:21-22; 1Pe 2:5) (4) A sheep in the Flock: (Joh 10:27-29) (5) A portion of His Bride: (Eph 5:25-27; Rev 19:6-8)
(6) A priest of the kingdom of priests: (1Pe 2:9) (7) A saint of the “new species:” (2Co 5:17) In the Holy Spirit: (Rom 8:9) “the Spirit in you.”
30. Every believer is the recipient of the ministries of the Holy Spirit. He is
a. Born of the Spirit: (Joh 3:36)
b. Baptized with the Spirit: (Act 1:5; 1Co 12:13)
c. Indwelt by the Spirit: (Joh 7:39; Rom 5:5; Rom 8:9; 1Co 3:16; 1Co 6:19; Gal 4:6; 1Jn 3:24)
d. Sealed by the Spirit: (2Co 1:22; Eph 4:30)
e. Given Spiritual gifts: (1Co 12:11; 1Co 12:27-31; 1Co 13:1-2)
31. The believer is glorified: (Rom 8:30)
32. The believer is complete in Christ: (Col 2:10)
33. The believer is possessor of every Spiritual blessing granted in eternity past: (Eph 1:3)
34. The believer receives a human spirit (The basis for Operation Z, along with the Holy Spirit): (Rom 8:16; 1Co 2:12; 2Co 7:13; 1Th 5:23)
35. The believer has scar tissue removed from the soul: (Isa 43:25; Isa 44:22)
36. The believer is the recipient of efficacious grace: (Eph 1:13)
37. The believer is guaranteed a resurrection body forever: (Joh 11:25)
38. The believer is the beneficiary of unlimited atonement: (2Co 5:14-15; 2Co 5:19; 1Ti 2:6; 1Ti 4:10; Tit 2:11; Heb 2:9; 2Pe 2:1; 1Jn 2:2)
39. The believer has equal privilege and equal opportunity under election and predestination.
40. The ten problem-solving devices are available to every believer. They are
a. Rebound: (1Jn 1:9)
b. Filling of the Holy Spirit: (Eph 5:18)
c. Faith-rest drill: (Heb 4:1; Heb 4:10-11)
d. Grace orientation: (Jas 4:6)
e. Doctrinal orientation: (Rom 12:2)
f. Personal sense of destiny: (Php 1:21)
g. Personal love for God: (Deut 6:5; 1Pe 1:8)
h. Impersonal love for all mankind: (Jas 2:8)
1. Sharing the happiness of God, +H: (Joh 15:11)
j. Occupation with Christ: (Eph 3:19)


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