Principles of the Doctrine of Christ

As taught in the Apostolic Lutheran Church of America
Copyright 1989 by the Apostolic Lutheran Book Concern - All rights reserved
First Printing 1989; Second Printing (with additions) 1996

Additional copies of this publication can be obtained from:
Apostolic Lutheran Book Concern
PO Box 2126, Battle Ground, WA 98604-2126
(Also available in the Spanish and Russian Languages.)

Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. John 7:16, 17

Introduction

The Bible refers to the principles of the doctrine of Christ in two places. Both of these references are found in Hebrews. First, in Hebrews 5:12:

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God... - Hebrews 5:12

Then in Hebrews 6:1,2:

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God. Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. - Hebrews 6:1, 2

This booklet describes and provides instruction on these "first principles" of the doctrine, or the "basic elements" of the teaching of Christ. However, this would be incomplete without expanding the basic elements to cover going on to "perfection," or

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ. Ephesians 4.13-15

And this will we do, if God permit. - Hebrews 6:39

Repentance, Justification and Sanctification

It is God's will that no one would perish in his sins, but that they would believe the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. 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 3:14-16

God Works True Repentance

Repentance is the work of God in man, who, in himself, is entirely helpless. Through repentance and faith in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, an unbeliever is brought to salvation. God's grace, which is the unmerited work of redemption, is freely given to him. The person who does not continue to abide by faith in Christ, the True Vine, and in whom His words do not abide, is fallen from grace. This person is in the same condition as an unbeliever and can be restored to grace only by repentance and faith in the Gospel of Christ.

If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. - John 15:6,7

The Law of the Ten Commandments

Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, til the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator - Galatians 3:19

Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. - Romans 3:19-23

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. - Galatians 3:10,11

The Apostle Paul has written:

But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. - 1 Timothy 1:8-11

Therefore, he concludes:

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. - Galatians 3 24,25

The Awakened State

An awakening is equally as necessary for the self-righteous person as it is for the careless sinner. Both are under the curse of the Law. However, the former in the ignorance of his self-righteous condition is totally unaware of this until convicted before the holiness of the Lord Jesus Christ. But after this, all he can do is pray as did also the publican

...God be merciful to me a sinner - Luke 18:13

Then said I, woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts - Isaiah 6:5

When truly awakened by the Spirit, even the most self-righteous person under the law will find himself to be total sin ... "undone," that is, dead in his own righteousness. Previously, this person may have trusted that he could live according to the Law of the Ten Commandments by his not having committed any outward transgressions. Apostle Paul (known as Saul of Tarsus at the time), was brought to the realization of this very condition very suddenly on the road to Damascus, where he was felled to the earth by the light of the heavenly glory of the Lord Jesus. When God reveals the true holiness demanded by the Law to a person, it slays him. The Apostle Paul, who once trusted in his own works, which were of the Law, writes after his conversion:

And the commandment, which was ordained to life, found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. - Romans 7:10,11

A person in this condition feels a great need for mercy and forgiveness before the face of a righteous and Holy God, knowing that without it he is eternally lost and condemned.

God answers the prayers of such a one, as He did with Saul of Tarsus (who became Apostle Paul) after he was first convicted on the way to Damascus by the Lord Jesus in the brightness of His glory and the power of His Word After Saul had been praying for three days, Jesus sent His servant, Ananias, to the blinded and humbled Saul with the Word of the gospel of salvation.

But God is also able to awaken a person who is without the law to the realization of his unsaved condition.

For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law - Romans  2:12

One example of this is in how God dealt with the Gentile Cornelius, to whom He sent His angel instructing him to

...call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved - Acts 11:13,14

Cornelius was

...a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always - Acts 10:2

Thus, he had been endeavoring to do all that he knew according to his conscience as a Gentile

...which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves - Romans 2:14

Even his servants gave testimony of him being

...a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews... - Acts 10:22

But the testimony of the people was not what Comelius' awakened conscience needed to assure him that he was in a saved condition of soul in the sight of God. What he needed and prayed for was that he would receive the testimony from God which would assure him of His mercy so that he could believe that his sins were forgiven. God's answer to that prayer was that He sent His angel to him, saying,

Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa and call for one Simon... - Acts 10:4,5

Cornelius received the testimony of God when he heard Peter preach that the redemptive work of Jesus was for all nations and that

to Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins - Acts 10:43

Cornelius heard and believed, and received the testimony of the Holy Ghost which assured him that now he was truly justified, not because of his devotion or prayers or alms, but only by the merits of Christ. God has not changed this, His order of grace.

For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek. for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved - Romans  10:12,13

However, the depth of a feeling of remorse or despair in the heart of an awakened person, whether great or small, does not make him any more (or less) deserving to receive the grace of God. This is because nothing can make a person deserving of God's grace. God delights in pure mercy to the undeserving:

Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God... - Jeremiah 3:13

The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saved such as be of a contrite spirit - Psalm 34:18

Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passed by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retaineth not His anger forever, because He delighteth in mercy - Micah 7:18

The Recognition of Spiritual Poverty

A person is thus able to hear the Gospel of Christ and understand with the heart, as stated in the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:15,16:

...and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. - Matthew 13:15,16

Jesus explains the parable:

But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty - Matthew 13:23

Such a person has found himself to be spiritually poor,

... and the poor have the gospel preached to them (Matthew 11:5).

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3)

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall befitted (Matthew 5:6).

He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He hath sent empty away (Luke 1. 53).

The Gospel is the Power of God Unto Salvation

Even though the Gospel is recorded in a written language in the scriptures, it has been commanded by Christ to be preached by His servants, in His name, among all nations. This Gospel is to be heard and believed because it is the Word of the Lord.

But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you (I Peter 1:25).

God gives faith into the heart of one who hears and believes His Word.

...The word is nigh thee. even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach (Romans 10:8).

The gospel… is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth ... (Romans 1:16).

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8,9).

It is the power of God to remove unbelief and give faith through the hearing of the Word, as expounded in all the scriptures that concern Christ. An example of this is where Jesus preached to the two sad disciples as they walked toward Emmaus. The disciples had seen Jesus condemned to death and crucified. They could not believe Jesus had been raised from the dead. Jesus said to them:

...O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself (Luke 24:25-27).

A most wonderful change took place in the hearts of the two disciples while hearing the Word, even though at the time they did not know that this stranger was Jesus.

And they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the scriptures? (Luke 24:32).

The two disciples, along with the other disciples, had witnessed the events that took place in Gethsemane and on the cross at Golgotha. However, since they had not as yet been regenerated, they were not able to understand these events with their carnal reasoning. They still did not know that the suffering and death of Jesus was the sacrifice required in order to reconcile the world to God.

And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned... (Luke 24:15).

Natural man's attempts to comprehend spiritual things through reasoning and carnal intellect must come to naught.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (I Corinthians 2:14).

Scriptural New Birth

In like manner, the power of the resurrection of Christ from the dead is manifested by the Holy Spirit through the preached Word of the Gospel to a sorrowful and sin-burdened soul:

...be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee (the essence of the Gospel being the forgiveness of sins - Matthew 9:2).

It is by believing this Word that a repentant person receives a spiritual new birth, as Peter writes:

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which Iiveth and abideth forever (1 Peter 1:23).

Also, at the beginning of his epistle:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (I Peter 1:3).

Jesus likens the travail of spiritual new birth to that of a woman about to deliver a child:

A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you (John 16:21,22).

Thus, a person who has died spiritually needs to be begotten again in order to be restored to life, that is, to be spiritually born again. Nicodemus, to whom Jesus said,

Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again (John 3:7)

...is an example of such a person. Despite the fact that he was esteemed among the Pharisees as a great religious leader, as Jesus made reference to this in His question to him:

... Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? (John 3:10)

...nevertheless he was spiritually dead. This was because of unbelief, as Jesus said,

If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? (John 3.12).

Another example of a spiritual death is where one has, as the prodigal son, taken

...his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living (Luke 15:13).

Having lost his spiritual life (the "substance" which is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost), and thus having died, he needed to be born again spiritually in order to be made alive again.

For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry (Luke 15:24).

The word of the Gospel of Christ to a thirsting soul is a

...voice as the sound of many waters (Revelation 1:15)

... which, together with the Spirit, brings forth a spiritual birth:

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5).

This is the living water of which Jesus told the woman of Samaria, who could understand only the natural water that she had been drawing from the well of Jacob.

Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:13,14).

Children having parents (or guardians) that are true Christians are indeed blessed. Such parents have in them these wells of water springing up into everlasting life.

...Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water (John 7:37,38).

...the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts (of believing parents) by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Romans 5:5).

This love constrains them to bring their children up in the

...nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).

...Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).

Children (as well as adults) need this wholesome spiritual nourishment in order to grow in grace and to remain alive and healthy spiritually, and to be

...rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith... (Colossians 2: 7)

...as it is written, The just shall live by faith (Romans 1:17).

Jesus said of the little children:

… for of such is the kingdom of God (Mark 10:14).

Therefore, a childhood Christian, not having departed from the true faith, has no need to be reborn to enter into the kingdom of God from whence he has never departed.

...I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one (I John 2:14).

The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:20,21)

But as it is with all true believers, children in their early years of life also become conscious of the infirmities of the flesh. For this reason, they too find a need to hear the reassuring word of the Gospel, as the Apostle John has written:

I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake (I John 2:12).

This is possible as it is written:

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper (Psalm 1:3).

Justification

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:1,2).

As it was with the disciples of old, so it is today with a person who has been born again

...unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (I Peter 1:3).

He is now able to see and understand with his heart, by the light of the Holy Spirit, that his sin debt was truly paid by Christ, the sacrificial Lamb of God, as the Prophet Isaiah writes:

... the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6).

He died to atone for the sins of fallen man,

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

And having fulfilled the righteous and holy demands of the Law,

He said, it is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost (John 19:30).

The understanding of a person who has thus been raised with Christ is no longer the product of the fleshly mind of man. It is replaced with that which Jesus gives by His Spirit:

Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day (Luke 24:45,46).

For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that He may instruct him! But we have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16).

Sanctification and The Holy Ghost

A converted person,

...through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ... (I Peter 1:2)

... has access by faith into God's grace. Also,

the love of God is shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost (Romans 5:5).

The Holy Ghost is his teacher and guide into all truth:

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ,- Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Titus 2:11-14).

Through the Word, the Holy Spirit teaches the converted person in the same manner as Jesus did, to

…arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house (Mark 2:11).

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God (Romans 8:14).

The Spirit of God leads one into truthful actions, such as making restitution or reconciliation where one is conscious of having wronged someone in the past. And as Jesus says:

But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God (John 3:21).

The Holy Spirit reveals to the child of God that Jesus is the way, as He states:

...I am the way, the truth, and the life... (John 14:6).

The Holy Spirit also gives the faith to continue on this way from victory to victory.

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (I John 5:4,5).

On this narrow way, there is room for but one Leader.

He goes before His sheep as the Good Shepherd and the sheep follow His voice (John 10:4).

The Apostle Paul writes:

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Romans 8:1).

Jesus also speaks of a way that leads to destruction:

...broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat (Matthew 7:13)

On that way, there are many voices for one to follow, if one chooses to walk after the flesh rather than after the Spirit. The scriptures indicate some of these as:

...one's own carnal mind (Romans 8:7)

...the philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world... (Colossians 2:8)

...teaching for doctrines the commandments of men (Matthew 15:9)

...the enticing words of man's wisdom (I Corinthians 2:4)

...false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves (Matthew 7:15)

...the thief and robber, who have climbed up into the sheepfold some other way (John 10:1)

and Satan, the very father of all lies, who is

...transformed into an angel of light (II Corinthians 11:14).

But the child of God shall be led safely through all perils, by faith in the word of the Lord, as He has promised:

...for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5).

God's children are also joined together in unity by the same Spirit:

But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin (I John 1:7).

They have also become members of the body of Christ, which is His Church. Christ Himself is the chief cornerstone of that building which is not made with hands.

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious: and he that believes on Him shall not be confounded (7 Peter 2: 5,6).

Fundamentals of Scriptural Faith

The fundamentals of scriptural faith are:

  • TO BELIEVE that the scripture contained in the Holy Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, is the inspired Word of God, as Peter says:

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (II Peter 1:20,21).

And Paul says: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (II Timothy 3:16).

  • TO BELIEVE in the unity of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one (l John 5:7).

I and my Father are one (John 10:30).

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one (John 17:22).

  • TO BELIEVE in the forgiveness of sins in Jesus' Name and blood as the means of reconciliation with God, through repentance and faith. This is as the Bible records in various scriptures:

Mark 1:15: The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Acts 10:43: To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.

Colossians 1:14: in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.

Hebrews 9:14: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge our conscience from dead works to serve the living God ?

I Peter l:l 9: But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

Luke 24:47: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

John 20:23: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

II Corinthians 5:18-20: And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, by ye reconciled to God.

Acts 1:8: But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Romans 10:17: so then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

The fruits of the Spirit will appear as one grows

in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ... (lI Peter 3:18).

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22,23).

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17).

This will lead a person to follow Jesus in doctrine, in life and in suffering, as Jesus says:

...If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me (Matthew 16:24).

And Paul says:

Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place (II Corinthians 2:14).

  • TO BELIEVE that a person asks when in spiritual need. He seeks when he wants to find and he knocks when he wants to come in, as Jesus says:

Ask and it shall he given you; seek, and ye shall find knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened (Matthew 7: 7,8).

Of The Doctrine Of Baptisms (Hebrews 6:2)

Water Baptism

Water baptism is the seal or token of the New Testament Covenant of faith instituted by God as an outward sign of grace. God has not changed the principle of the Covenant. The essence of the Covenant that God made with Abraham of old was this:

And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee (Genesis 17: 7).

Christ, the seed of Abraham, fulfilled all the requirements of the Law of Moses, including circumcision.

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love (Galatians 5: 6).

This Covenant, being everlasting, remains the same even though God instituted baptism in place of circumcision. And in place of the Feast of the Passover, He instituted the Lord's Supper. Thus, God uses the same wording in the Old and New Testaments:

...I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people (Hebrews 8:10; Ezekiel 37:27).

The New Covenant is the fulfillment of the promise received by faith, which also has its outward visible sign, for the Lord says:

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (Mark 16:16).

But without faith it is impossible to please Him... (Hebrews 11:6).

The scripture clearly states that infants have faith, for it is God who instills faith in the heart. God-given faith is not a faith of the carnal mind but of the heart.

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness... (Romans 10:10).

They who insist that infants do not believe, ignore the words of Jesus, who said:

... Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. But who so shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck. and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea (Matthew 18:3,6).

In Luke 18:15,16 we also read where Jesus included infants:

And they brought unto Him also infants, that He would touch them: but when His disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them onto Him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. (Luke 18:15,16)

Therefore, little children are to be baptized, not to become God's children, but because they are God's children and are of the kingdom of God. The argument that He made His covenants with adults only does not prove that children were to be excluded, for it is written,

...and thy seed after thee in their generations (Genesis 17:9).

Thus, infants at the age of eight days were circumcised:

And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you... (Genesis 17:12).

For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call (Acts 2. 39)

Children are not without original sin, which is inherited from our first parents, Adam and Eve, and remains in the flesh of man throughout his natural lifetime.

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me (Psalm 51:5).

The very foundation for the salvation of man from the fall of Adam is the redemptive work of Christ, whereby He died for the sins of the whole world, including the children. There is no unbelief in the heart of an infant by which he could reject the redemptive work of Christ.

And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world (I John 2:2).

Jesus says,

...he that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already. because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3.18).

This faith is accounted to him for righteousness.

Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham (Galatians (3:6,7).

The same blessing covers the child as well as the adult:

Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin (Romans 4:8).

I write unto you, little children. because your sins are forgiven you for His name 's sake (l John 2:12)

This token of God's grace for the new Covenant was instituted and commanded by Christ Himself:

…AII power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore. and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, l am with you always, even unto the end of the world (Matthew 28:18-20).

It is important to fully realize that nothing can invalidate a baptism that has been administered in the name of

...the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19).

This is true whether the baptism was received in infancy, or at any other age, or even if a person has broken his side of the covenant of faith, which was sealed by this outward sign. God has not broken His side of this covenant.

...and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David (Isaiah 55:3).

A repentant sinner can return and find this to be true, as God is ever willing to receive the prodigal son back into His Covenant (the father's house), forgiving all his sin (Luke 15:20-24).

But there is a very dangerous and subtle deceit by which the enemy, the devil, has snared many unwary souls into having themselves "rebaptized." The first baptism, declared in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, is thereby being regarded as invalid and an unholy thing. Under these circumstances, it is possible that

...despite [can be done] onto the Spirit of grace (Hebrews 10:29).

There is but

One Lord, one faith, one baptism (Ephesians 4:5).

Baptism of The Holy Ghost and of Fire

Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that He said John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost (Acts 11:16).

John the Baptist witnessed of Jesus, saying:

...He shall baptize ye with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (Matthew 3:11,12).

The Apostle Paul refers to the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, as he writes:

And hope maketh not ashamed: because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Romans 5:5).

Likewise John writes,

...and every one that loved Him that begat loveth Him also that is begotten of Him (I John 5:1).

This divine love binds the children of God together by the Holy Spirit which is in them. This

...is the bond of perfectness (Colossians 3:14).

All who are born of the Holy Spirit are the children of God.

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God (Romans 8:16).

This love of God, which is given to the children of God, is the motivating force in God's kingdom on earth.

For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again (II Corinthians 5:14, 15).

But this love is not understood by everyone in this world, as the Apostle John writes:

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not (I John 3:1).

Jesus made it known what His own can expect:

I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? l tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law (Luke 12:49-53).

Here is where one learns what true cross-bearing is.

And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:27).

This is because the seed of the woman (Christ by His Spirit) has come to abide in the hearts of the true believers. Therefore, it follows as the Lord God spoke to the serpent, the devil, after the fall of Adam and Eve:

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed... (Genesis 3:15).

The Comforter of God's children, the Holy Spirit, with which they are empowered and enlightened to confess their faith and to proclaim the true doctrine of Christ, will reprove the world of the sin of unbelief, the righteousness of the world and its judgment.

For they being ignorant of God 's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth (Romans 10:3,4).

This is as Jesus says:

And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged (John 16:8-11).

For this cause, the

...adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8).

The Apostle Peter, having experienced much tribulation because of faith in Christ, was able to write:

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified (l Peter 4:12-14).

Also in the first part of his epistle:

Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: What the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ (7 Peter 1:6, 7).

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you (Matthew 5: 12).

These things I have spoken unto you. that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

Baptism Into His Death

Jesus refers to this baptism when He states:

...Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drank of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? ...(Matthew 20:22).

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

The bitterness in the death of the will of the flesh (the old Adam) is experienced when one is led to the baptism into His death. This was experienced by the disciples who had boasted that they would be able to go even unto death with their Lord:

Peter said unto Him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples (Matthew 26:35).

Their statements were like a "decision for Christ" that proceeded from the flesh. It had to come to an end, as must all efforts of corrupt flesh.

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? (Romans 6:3).

Those who are following Jesus

...in the regeneration... (Matthew 19:28)

will not be regenerated unless they experience that which Jesus states:

...Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with . . . (Matthew 20:23).

This baptism is a crucifixion of the old man with Christ (Romans 6:6).

And it is an experience of sorrow, For godly sorrow worked repentance to salvation not to be repented of... (11 Corinthians 7:10).

Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death:

... that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).

The regeneration takes place, when with the power of His resurrection, a new creature is brought forth in the heart of man. Through faith, man lays hold of the preached word of the Gospel wherein

...the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel (Hebrews 12:24)

...is spoken in the words of the forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus and His atoning blood.

Therefore if any man be in Christ. he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (II Corinthians 5:17).

The Laying on Of Hands

The laying on of hands is used in the manner as Ananias did to Saul:

...and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 9:17).

The disciples also used the laying on of hands as Peter and John did to the Samaritans in Acts 8:17:

Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. (Acts 8:17)

Paul used the laying on of hands with the disciples at Ephesus in Acts 19:6:

And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them: and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. (Acts 19:6)

Paul gives us specific instructions regarding the laying of hands in II Timothy 4:14:

Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. (II Timothy 4:14)

And in II Timothy 1:6:

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. (II Timothy 1:6)

Christ used the laying on of hands upon children as stated in the following scripture:

Then were there brought unto Him little children, that He should put His hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And He laid His hands on them, and departed thence (Matthew 19:13-15).

Christ also used the laying on of hands in healing:

And Jesus put forth His hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed (Matthew 8:3).

And He touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them (Matthew 8:15).

Through the laying on of hands, together with the Word of God, His blessing is conveyed upon man. It is the compassionate touch of Christ whereby man feels, as it were, the blessing of God upon him. The preceding scriptures teach us that the laying on of hands was used in bodily and spiritual healing and for the work of the ministry. Hands were laid upon deacons and servants as a blessing into their work. It is the Holy Spirit constraining the children of God in embracing, with compassion and mercy, as they declare in the name and blood of Jesus, the forgiveness of sins to those in need of the assurance of God's grace. (This in itself is the laying on of hands.) However, the laying on of hands should not be taught in an exacting manner, for we read in the scripture that in some cases, only the spoken word was used. For example:

To him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word (Acts 10:43,44).

Confession of Sin

If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us (I John 1:6-10).

We are to confess before God that we are guilty of all sin, even of those which we do not know. However, we should confess those sins which we know and feel in our hearts and which burden our consciences, to a trusted Christian (confessor). The confession of sins to a confessor is a precious gift of God and a privilege which every Christian should use according to his needs and the demands of his conscience.

Confession should never be taught in an exacting spirit. Neither should it be taught as a condition for salvation, but rather, as a gift of God's mercy. The only condition for salvation is scriptural faith in Jesus.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life (John 6:47).

If a believer's conscience is burdened with sins he has committed and acknowledged before, these sins may still be a hindrance to his faith. If the believer feels an inner need and urge to confess these sins to a trusted Christian, this is the voice of the Holy Spirit to which he should be obedient. Confession of sins to a confessor is not a meritorious work and the believer is not made righteous by this act, for he is already righteous in Christ. He confesses his sins in order to restore peace of conscience through absolution, and so that he may be able to freely appropriate the Gospel. He is not to think that only those sins which he confessed are forgiven, for absolution means that all his sins are forgiven, even those which he may not be aware of.

If sins which have been confessed and forgiven begin to again trouble him, or if doubt assails him as to whether his sins were truly forgiven through the absolution, then that voice is his own corruption and the voice of the devil. This voice should be rejected. He should believe the promise of Christ that his sins, which have been declared forgiven in Jesus' name by a trusted Christian on earth, are truly forgiven before God in heaven.

Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (Matthew 18:18).

Even though a Christian has been blessed with the forgiveness of sins and has received peace and joy in his heart, he may still fall into sin. But the Holy Spirit will guide him, and urge him to put away that sin, and will assure him that it is forgiven through faith in the word of the Gospel that is extended to him in Jesus' name and blood.

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And He is the propitiation for our sins... (1 John 2:1,2).

...let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith... (Hebrews 12:1,2).

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:22).

Jesus gave the disciples an example concerning the cleansing from sin on this journey when He began to wash their feet:

Simon Peter saith unto Him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit... (John 13:9,10).

Jesus used the washing of the feet (a natural custom of the times) to illustrate a very important spiritual responsibility which belongs to all of God's children. His will is that they would, in humility, having themselves received mercy, be ready to assure, exhort and encourage one another on this spiritual journey with the Word of faith, so that they can believe their failures, and sins (the accumulation of dust and filth from the journey through this wilderness of sin), forgiven in Jesus' name and blood.

If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you (John 13:14,15).

The consequence of serving sin and walking in disobedience to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, eventually is spiritual death.

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:16).

But God will not take His Spirit away from those who have the desire to continue walking in the light, even though they feel that they have not always been able to overcome temptation:

A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench... (Isaiah 42:3).

The Lord's Supper

As it has already been stated, God instituted the Lord's Supper for the New Covenant in place of the Feast of the Passover.

And He said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you (Luke 22:I5-20).

As it was given for Moses to see, by faith, the true Passover Lamb, Christ, he was also given a commandment by the Lord:

And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons forever (Exodus 12:24).

It is recorded in the New Testament in the Epistle to the Hebrews:

Through faith he kept the Passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest He that destroyed the firstborn should touch them (Hebrews 11:28).

So likewise, the meaning of the observance of the Lord's Holy Supper can still be explained and understood in the same manner as Moses was instructed by the Lord to do:

And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord's Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when He smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses... (Exodus 12:26,27).

In like manner, the observance of the Lord's Supper is a command of the Lord. This do in remembrance of me... (Jesus, the Lamb of God who was sacrificed to take away the sin of the world.)

...Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

The participation in this observance was given to God's people, lest they should forget the praises of Him who has wrought to them this great deliverance from the power of the enemy (death, hell and the devil).

This observance is given also for the strengthening of faith in order that the children of God might be able to endure, beholding Him who is invisible, even as did Moses:

By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible (Hebrews 11:27).

He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and l in him (John 6:56).

Increasing In The Knowledge of God - Growing In Grace

That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as thought I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:10-12).

Every true Christian knows and admits that he has not as yet reached perfection in the knowledge of Christ. Therefore, he continues to pray for understanding, even as Paul prayed in behalf of the newly converted Colossians

... that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding (Colossians 1:9).

Likewise, Peter, in closing his second epistle writes,

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:17,18).

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby (I Peter 2:2).

Growth To Follow Justification

Such growth or increase is not what justifies a Christian. Through faith, he is already justified before God through Christ and His merits, and is wholly His own without spot or blemish.

Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you (John 15:3).

But through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, he desires to grow in the knowledge of this redemption and justification by faith from where he received righteousness peace and joy. This growth and increase does not, however, mean that the Christian feels that he is becoming better and better, but only that he realizes more and more his true sinfulness. At the same time, he relies wholly on the grace of God in Christ.

Man Diminishes

In this knowledge, the Christian does not grow in himself. On the contrary, he diminishes, as John the Baptist states:

He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30).

In the light of the indwelling Holy Spirit, he is able to see what his earthly portion truly is, even as the Apostle Paul had to confess:

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not (Romans 7:18).

Nevertheless,

...the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost (John 14:26)

...will not leave the child of God in despair and hopelessness on account of his sinful flesh. Rather, He reveals to him ever more the riches of the manifold grace of God, thereby leading him to join the Apostle Paul in saying,

I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin (Romans 7:25).

And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (II Corinthians 12:9).

All this is not an achievement of one's own, but is the work and gift of God, as the apostle says: For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).

Going on To Perfection

When the apostle says,

…let us go on unto perfection... (Hebrews 6:1)

...he means that we are to leave the Principles of the Doctrine of Christ in place and continue on to the perfection which is by faith. It is not to be understood to mean that there is to be found some way to make sinful flesh perfect. The only perfection that God the Father sees is that which is in His Son, Jesus, who has fulfilled all righteousness. Therefore, the only perfection that man can go on unto is that which is by faith in the perfection of Christ

...who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption (I Corinthians 1:30).

This perfection is not to be sought from oneself, but only by abiding in Christ, the True Vine.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned (John 15:4-6).

The Apostle Paul did not claim to have reached perfection in himself, as can be seen from his writing:

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:12-14).

For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me (Romans 7:19-21).

The perfecting of the body is still in the future, as Paul was enlightened to write:

But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away (I Corinthians 13:10).

Likewise the Apostle John writes:

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is (I John 3:2).

And He gave some, apostles, and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love (Ephesians 4:11-16).

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, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (II Timothy 3:16,17).

Worship In Spirit and In Truth

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23, 24).

This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Galatians 3:2,3).

For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3).

The Holy Spirit Guides Into All Truth

Jesus has given clear promises and assurances so that His own would believe in the Holy Spirit, and ask, in humble reverence, for His perfect and Holy guidance.

If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him? (Luke 11:11-13).

Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you (John 16:13,14).

And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him: for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you (John 14:16-18).

These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you (John 14:25,26).

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32).

The growth in grace and in the knowledge of Christ is not a growth into a confidence in the flesh. However, the children of God have always been tempted into this confidence by the devil, who is still the same subtle serpent as he was in the beginning. The devil's message is still the same:

Yea, hath God said... (Genesis 3:1).

...Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat (Genesis 3:4-6).

The woman turned away from the Word of the Lord to look at the devil's offer and saw nothing bad or wrong in it. It all appeared to be good. Everything was agreeable with the reasoning and desires of the flesh. The growth is then reversed to "I must increase, but He must decrease," contrary to,

He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30).

The Leading of The Good Shepherd

An example of growth into a confidence in the flesh is shown in the message that Jesus gave to the Apostle John to write to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans:

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked (Revelation 3:17).

Even a true Christian, walking in the light of the Holy Spirit, has feelings and oftentimes coldness of heart because of the sinfulness and corruption of the flesh. Also, the devil assails and accuses him to the point that he will even have doubts concerning his salvation.

But the Word of the Lord is, I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan (Revelation 2:9).

However, a Christian can feel warmth when the Lord Jesus, the Chief Shepherd and Bishop of his soul, leads him to the

...green pastures and still waters (Psalm 23:2)

....by His Word and Spirit. This is where the living waters, which is

...the word which by the gospel is preached unto you (Peter 1:25)

...warms his heart with the redeeming love and grace of the Savior, so that his

...cup runneth over (Psalm 23:5).

The self-righteous condition feels neither coldness nor warmth. In the sight of the Lord, this condition is the most nauseating:

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing... (Revelation 3:15-17).

The Apostle John assures us that the Holy Spirit leads the children of God to know the truth:

But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth (I John 2: 20, 21).

But He also is aware of the many antichrists in this last time, which have gone out to seduce God's children away from their faith in the Holy Spirit.

These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you ye shall abide in Him (I John 2:26, 27).

Repentance From Dead Works

If the repentance or conversion of a person has been only an "outward repentance," that is, without the conviction and revelation that all of his efforts in trying to establish his own righteousness

...are as filthy rags... (Isaiah 64:6)

... in the sight of God, then it is not a

...repentance from dead works... (Hebrews 6:1).

For they being ignorant of God 's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God (Romans 10:3).

A true repentance is a work that only God is able to perform in the heart of man. It is the fruit of the faith given to him by the hearing of the Word:

...so then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17).

It is God who gives repentance and forgiveness of sins, where it is preached in the name of Jesus, and believed. Peter and the other apostles thus testified before the council of the high priest:

Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:31).

God creates both the need for the forgiveness of sins and the faith to believe it.

And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. (Isaiah 12:1).

Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted (Matthew 5:4).

But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11.6).

...for whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23).

The Apostle Paul relates of his conversion from dead works in which he formerly lived and trusted:

Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the Jaw, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith (Philippians 3:5-9).

Resurrection of The Dead

The First Resurrection

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power... (Revelation 20.6).

The first resurrection, which takes place in the time of grace here in this present life, is that which is experienced in one's conversion from unbelief. It is a spiritual new birth, where one receives the righteousness of Christ by faith as he is resurrected from a spiritually dead condition into a new life in Christ.

The Apostle Paul explains what has taken place: And you hath He quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved), and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:1-6).

Again in another epistle, Paul writes:

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead. and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4).

Jesus speaks of how man becomes a partaker of the first resurrection:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live (John 5:24,25).

Jesus verified this again by saying,

Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death (John 8:51).

The apostle also writes of the power of the first resurrection over the second death:

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).

The Second Resurrection

The second resurrection is yet to come, of which Jesus speaks:

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28,29).

This invariably raises the question in man - what good must I do to be able to partake of the resurrection of life? The question was asked of Jesus on one occasion:

Then said they unto Him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent (John 6:28,29).

With such faith, a true child of God can behold the work and sacrifice of Christ, performed on his behalf, as the only perfect and complete work by which he is acceptable before God.

To this faith, God gives the testimony of His Spirit:

By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh Hebrews 11:4).

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God (Romans 8:16).

in whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:13,14).

The Judgment of Mercy

Every individual who desires to be delivered from God's wrath must appear before this judgment. If he appears here in the time of grace as a penitent sinner, he will be judged with mercy, grace and the forgiveness of all of his sins.

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:15,16).

Jesus established His throne of grace here on earth, where this judgment of mercy is proclaimed by His servants, and where He yet abides with them and in them:

if any man serve me, let him follow me; and where l am, there shall also my servant be... (John 12:26).

The servants of God are ambassadors for Christ, having been authorized and commanded by Christ to declare the forgiveness of sins in His name, as Christ did while in the form of man here in the flesh:

When Jesus saw their faith, He said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee (Mark 2:5).

This authorization is found clearly recorded in the gospel of John:

Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them Peace be unto you. And when He had so said, He shewed unto them His hands and His side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained (John 20:19-23).

This commission is given only to the true children of God, who have received and possess the Holy Ghost, to whom the Father has revealed Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God. To these alone has He given the keys of the kingdom of heaven:

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (Matthew 16:19).

Jesus breathed on these first disciples, as it was in the beginning after the creation of man:

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7).

So now after Christ had finished the work of redemption in behalf of fallen man, He again breathed into him the life that had been lost, whereby he

…is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him (Colossians 3:19).

This breath of life is still received in like manner when one hears the "sound" of the word of the Gospel.

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit (John 3.8).

An example of how the preached word of the Gospel, together with the Holy Spirit, accomplishes new birth is found where Peter preached in the house of Cornelius:

And He commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is He which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word (Acts 10:42-44).

Power of The Spirit

The disciples, having received the Holy Ghost, were regenerated and became new creatures in Christ They now had righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, which is the invisible spiritual kingdom of God. And they had been given the keys of the kingdom of heaven as Jesus had earlier promised (Matthew 16:19). This is the authority of the Holy Ghost, which is given to all whom God has begotten unto Himself

...with the word of truth (James 1:18).

The disciples, whom Jesus had chosen to be His apostles, were not to go out on their own decision or in carnal zeal to begin proclaiming the Word publicly Jesus told them to stay where they were and wait for the time appointed, when the Power from on high would be given to them.

And behold, I send the promise of my father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high (Luke 24:49).

They experienced this Power on the day of Pentecost, and from then on,

...in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1.-8).

This is the Power in which only the true servants of Christ depend on, even at the present time, as the Apostle Paul said:

And I, brethren when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God nor I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God (l Corinthians 2:1-5).

Paul also explains that it is God who ordained that the ministry of reconciliation is committed to His own:

And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation, to wit that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, he ye reconciled to God (ll Corinthians 5:18- 70).

Jesus makes known what will befall a person, who by his unbelief despises this unspeakable gift of His love and mercy:

And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for l came not to judge the world but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day John 12:47 48).

Those who have refused to receive this judgment of mercy here in this time of grace, remain bound in their sins. On the last day, they will receive a judgment according to their works.

Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment: and some men they follow after (Il Timothy 5:24).

The Keys of Hell and of Death

It has already been referred to from the Holy Scriptures that Christ has given to His church (to the true believers) the keys of the kingdom of heaven - the authority to preach repentance and the forgiveness of sins in His name, that is, the Word of reconciliation which is a judgment of mercy to repentant sinners. However, He has not given the judgment of condemnation authority (the right to condemn) to any church or to any individual. He has retained this authority solely for Himself, for the last day. He has not entrusted these keys to the use of any man, as He states that He still has them:

I am He that liveth, and was dead, and behold. I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death (Revelation 1: 18).

For we know Him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge His people (Hebrews 10:30).

Throne of Eternal Judgment

The Apostle Paul has told us what will take place at the eternal judgment:

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad (ll Corinthians 5:10).

Jesus says,

When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: And before Him shall be gathered all nations, and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger. and ye took me in.- Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me (Matthew 25:31-36).

Self-Justification

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week I give tithes of all that I possess (Luke 18:11,12).

Even as self righteous people in this life know to speak only of themselves and their own dead works, so shall it also be at the last judgment.

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matthew 7:22, 23).

These statements speak only of the works of man. The works of Christ appear to be altogether unknown or forgotten.

The children of God, on the other hand, appear to have no recollection of ever having done anything for Christ, as we read concerning the last judgment:

Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying. Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not (Matthew 25:37-43).

The Books of Works and the Book of Life

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:12-15).

Before this throne of eternal judgment, each person will find himself in one or the other of the only two groups which are named on that day:

…ye blessed of my Father, or ...ye cursed (Matthew 25:34, 41).

The Word of God proclaimed by His people, and the Spirit of God invite, enlighten and enable man to make the right choice here in this present life in order to become the "blessed of the Father." This gospel call was already preached by Moses:

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live (Deuteronomy 30:19).

This message is found throughout the Bible, even in the very last chapter;

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely (Revelation 22:17).

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise! as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (II Peter 3:9).

Prayer

In God's Word, we find much enlightenment concerning prayer. Jesus, our Savior, encouraged His disciples to pray often to God:

... that men ought always to pray, and not to faint (Luke 18:1). In another place, Jesus says, Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew. 26:41).

Throughout the entire Bible, we see people in prayer to God that they would be preserved as God's people, and in the end inherit eternal life. King David says in Psalm 5:2,3:

Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. (Psalm 5:2,3)

These prayers often came from the heart of God's people according to their needs. Sometimes they prayed to God for enlightenment and instruction. Other times they prayed to God for strength and wisdom and that God's grace and protective hand would be over them. Still at other times, they prayed to God for their dear friends, relatives, and other people. Apostle Paul writes to Timothy:

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty (II Timothy. 2:1,2).

As Christians, our life on this earth is a life of prayer to God. Jesus, the Son of God, is an example of this for all of us. In the Bible, we often see Him in prayer to our Heavenly Father.

And when He had sent them away, He departed into a mountain to pray (Mark 6:46). And it came to pass, as He was alone praying, His disciples were with Him. (Luke 9.18).

And when He rose up from prayer, and was come to His disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow (Luke 22:45).

And in another place, it says that Jesus prayed all night:

And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God (Luke 6:12).

We know from the Word that God always hears the prayers of the Christians.

And when He had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints (Revelation 5:8).

We also read in the New Testament that God heard the prayer of Cornelius:

And when he looked on Him, he was afraid! and said, What is it, Lord. And He said unto him, thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God (Acts 10:49).

Cornelius was the first Gentile who repented and became a Christian,

...he and his whole household (Acts 11:14).

Jesus taught His disciples by saying:

And when thou prayest thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him.

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen (Matthew 6:5-13).

It is important for them who pray for their soul's salvation that they enter by the door into the sheepfold and not climb up some other way, lest they be a thief and a robber, as Jesus says in John 10:1.

Oftentimes when distress and tribulation were great, we can see from the Bible that God's children cried to Him for help. We also have experienced that God has heard the cry of His children, as Jesus says in Matthew 21:22.

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing ye shall receive. But we know that what we pray for must be in accordance with God's will. It is written: And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask. we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him (I John 5:14).


Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen (Hebrews 13:20,21).

In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight (Luke 10:21).


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