Fellowship with God

 

Fellowship with Christ

Z-Axis Fellowship
Time Axis

Z-Axis Fellowship

Abiding in Hope
Obedience to the Holy Spirit
Filling of the Holy Spirit
Obey His Commandments
Evaluation Throne of Christ
Victory Over Satan

Abiding in Hope

The word that is translated hope in the Greek New Testament is eijrhvnh (elpis), which means confidence or confident expectation.  It is much stronger than the use of the word in the English, which often implies lack of confidence or only a possibility.  Hope in the New Testament is used for confidence in Jesus Christ for Salvation and confidence in the Spiritual life that leads to the Resurrection and going home to glory.  The hope for the unbeliever is that he will be saved, and the hope for the believer is that he will advance to Spiritual Maturity and be Resurrected and receive his uniform of glory.

Hope is an authority relationship with God.  It is the Z-axis of the Spiritual coordinate system.  The three axes correspond to Faith, Hope, and Love, where Hope is the Z-axis.  Alignment of the Z-axis requires humility and respect for the authority of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Fellowship with God always begins with the Z-axis.  First there must be Rebound, and then the Z-axis must be aligned.  If the Z-axis is aligned in subordination to the authority of God, the other axes will also be aligned.  Z-axis hope is symbolized by the upside down anchor of the soul (ref. Heb 6:19-20).

Romans 5:2
through whom (Christ) also we have obtained access by faith into this Grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
Tabernacle PlanOur "access by faith into this Grace" corresponds to Christ the Door of Grace Orientation into the Holy Place in the Tabernacle.  In the Holy Place the believer can exult with great Happiness in hope of the glory of God.  Hope is the Z-axis symbolized by the Altar of Incense that connects the believer spiritually to the glory of God, which is the Shekinah Glory on the Mercy Seat.  "Hope of the glory of God" is the believer's confidence in the greatness of God and all His majesty.

Christ is our hope for Salvation and our hope for entering the Door of Grace Orientation.  Grace Orientation is alignment of our Z-axis of hope.  The believer with humility is a candidate for Grace.  And the believer with Grace Orientation can share the Happiness of God.  He has confidence that God will solve his problems.

Romans 5:3 Stress Testing
And not only this, but we also exult in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
Suffering is a test.  Intense suffering, such as stress testing, tests hope.  Hope corresponds to the roots of a tree which is being tested in a storm.  If the believer can maintain his hope through the duration of the testing, he will develop endurance in the Spiritual life.
Romans 5:4
and endurance produces verification, and verification confidence (hope)
"Endurance produces verification."  "Verification" is the Greek dokimhv (dokime), which means verification; to prove by testing.  The believer who endures the test will have his metal verified.  "And verification confidence" after the metal of the believer has been verified by passing the test, he will have confidence (hope).
Romans 5:5 Reciprocal Love
and confidence does not disappoint us, because the Love for God has been poured out in our hearts through the personal agency of the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us for our benefit.
"Confidence (hope) does not disappoint us."  Confidence is our relationship with God, not with the world.  The believer who executes the Spiritual life will not be disappointed even when he endures stress testing.  Disappointment and shame would come from human viewpoint.  Confidence (hope) is associated with Happiness and blessing that corresponds to the green leaves of the tree.  When the tests are passed and confidence is maintained, reciprocal Love for God is poured out in our heart to establish our Love relationship with God.  This was previously explained (ref. Rom 5:5).
Romans 12:12
rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, persisting in prayer,
In facing the trials and tribulations of the Spiritual life, the believer should be "rejoicing in hope (confidence)."  Divine Happiness is a Problem Solving Device that is available for difficult tests (Heb 12:2).  In spite of the suffering confidence must be maintained in the sufficiency of the Spiritual life to deal with problems.
1 Thessalonians 1:3
unceasingly remembering your work of faith (X-axis) and labor of love (Y-axis) and endurance of hope (Z-axis) in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father,
Paul noticed the X, Y, Z alignment of the Thessalonians:
  1. X-axis work of faith
  2. Y-axis labor of Love
  3. Z-axis endurance of hope.
The endurance of hope indicated their confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ that had endured through testing.  All three axes were aligned with the Lord Jesus Christ, who was in the presence of God the Father.

Hope in the Savior

The believer's confidence (hope) in the Plan of God begins at Salvation.

1 Thessalonians 1:5
because our Gospel (Good News) did not come to you in word only, but in addition, in the sphere of power and in the sphere of the Holy Spirit and full assurance, even as you know what sort we were revealed to be among you for your sake.
"Our Gospel" means the Gospel, or good news, that Paul gave to the Thessalonians.  The Gospel was not in word only but in the power of God.  For Salvation , the Father draws, the Son is the witness, and the Holy Spirit enlightens and convicts.  The power of the Gospel includes Common and Efficacious Grace.  In Common Grace, the person is provided a Gospel hearing (Jn 6:44; 12:32; Acts 18:27; 1 Pet 5:10), and Efficacious Grace is effective for Salvation (Rom 3:24; Eph 2:5; Titus 3:7).

In Common Grace, the Holy Spirit enables the unbeliever to hear and understand the Gospel.  Without the Holy Spirit the unbeliever could not understand the Gospel, since it is Spiritual and the unbeliever does not have a spirit.  In Efficacious Grace, the Gospel was "in full assurance."  "Full" is the Greek poluv", (polus), meaning much or "full."  "Assurance is the Greek plhroforiva (plerophoria),  from (plhrhv", full) + (forew, to bear) = assurance, conviction.  The Thessalonians were fully convicted or fully assured of the validity of the Gospel.  They believed in Eternal security (Col 2:2; Heb 6:11; 10:22).  They were fully assured that they would never lose their Salvation  (Jn 10:28).

The Gospel is the story of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:3-4).  To the unsaved:  Christ died as a substitute for them (Jn 3:16); and to the saved: they died in Christ (Rom 6:2-10; Gal 2:20).

Colossians 1:4-5
4  since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus (X-axis) and the love which you have for all the saints (Y-axis);
5  because of the hope laid up for you in heaven (Z-axis), of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the Gospel.
The Colossians also had X, Y, Z alignment.  The Z-axis alignment came from believing the hope laid up for them in Heaven.  Their hope was confidence in Eternal life which awaited them in Heaven.  This confidence came from believing the Gospel.
1 Timothy 4:10  Unlimited Atonement
For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope (confidence) on the living God, who is the Savior of all mankind, especially of believers.
Paul's hope (confidence) was fixed on the living God, who is Jesus Christ as the Savior of all mankind.  This is unlimited atonement.  Jesus Christ is the Savior of all mankind.  However, everyone is free to accept or reject Him.  Thus, for believers He is especially their Savior.

Hope in the Christian Life

Following Salvation the believer must have confidence (hope) in living the Christian life.  He must have confidence in God's Design for His life.  He must be motivated to learn and apply Bible Doctrine.  He must have confidence in living Grace, in the adequacy of Grace provision to meet his needs, the sufficiency of Bible Doctrine, and in the power of the new Spiritual life.  He must continue to be motivated to avoid becoming discouraged, losing hope, falling into carnality,  and succumbing to the distractions of the devil's world.  Just as he was assured of his Salvation, he must continue to be fully assured of the validity of his New Life in Christ.

Hebrews 6:11
And we desire that each one of you demonstrate the same diligence toward the full assurance of hope until the end (of this life),
Every believer must continue to be diligent to reach the full assurance of hope in the Spiritual life.  He must maintain his hope in God's Design for his life until the end of his life on Earth or the Rapture, if it comes first.

The believer who loses hope in the Christian life will become a casualty.  He will face Divine punishment from God and slavery to the devil, who doesn't like Christians in the first place.  If the believer neglects Rebound, he will enter Reversionism, and go down to the Sin Leading to Death.  He will not lose his Salvation, but he will lose his rewards.

1 Corinthians 13:7
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
In the passage about Divine Love, are the characteristics  of Love in the believer.  The believer with Love (Y-axis alignment) "bears all things."  He bears ill will, injustice, and persecution without losing his Love.  He "believes all things."  This means he maintains his faith (X-axis alignment) in all the problems of life.  "Hopes all things" means he maintains his confidence (Z-axis alignment) in God's Design and is willing to submit to God's will in humility in the face of all the adversities of life.  "Endures all things" means he is willing to suffer harsh treatment, whether deserved or undeserved, in order to fulfill the Plan of God.

Hope of the Resurrection

The Christian has the hope that he will be resurrected and receive a glorious Resurrection body like Christ's.  If he takes this hope seriously, he will be diligent to execute the Spiritual life so that he can qualify for rewards and not be put to shame at the Resurrection.

1 Peter 1:3 Salvation and Resurrection
Blessed be God, even the Father, of our Lord Jesus Christ, who on the basis of His great mercy, has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Because of the Divine Design of God the Father, and due to His mercy, we were "born again" at Salvation "to a living hope."  "Living" means to be Spiritually alive and active.  Our hope comes through the Spiritual life.  Our hope is "through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ."  This is the hope of Resurrection after Salvation.  Just as Christ was resurrected, so also will we.  The Christian looks forward with confidence (hope) to the Resurrection.
Colossians 1:4-5
4  since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus (X-axis) and the Love which you have for all the saints (Y-axis);
5 because of the hope laid up for you in Heaven (Z-axis), of which you previously heard in the Word of Truth, the Gospel.
Paul was thankful for the Colossians, who demonstrated X, Y, Z alignment in the Spiritual life.  They had:
  1. Faith X-axis
  2. Love Y-axis
  3. Hope Z-axis
They had learned of the hope laid up for them in Heaven.  They heard of this from the Word of Truth, the Gospel.  The Gospel promised them Eternal Life with God based upon faith in Jesus Christ.  Thus, they had hope of going to Heaven.
Titus 2:13 Waiting for the Resurrection
waiting expectantly for the Happy hope, even the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,
The Christian waits expectantly for the Resurrection (Rapture), which is called "the Happy hope."  He is Happy because of the hope of receiving God's blessing of the Resurrection.   At the Resurrection of the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ will appear in His glory.  He is called "the great God and Savior, Christ Jesus."  He is the God-man in Hypostatic Union in a Resurrection Body.  He is the unique celebrity of all existence.
Colossians 1:27 Indwelling of Christ
to whom (saints) God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in (indwelling) you, the confidence (hope) of glory (Resurrection).
It was God's will to reveal to the saints in the Church Age "the riches of the glory" of the "mystery" of the Church.  "The riches of the glory" refer to the bountiful blessings for the Church.  The calling out of the Church as the Royal Family was the "mystery" that was hidden.  It was not prophesied in the Old Testament but is revealed in the New Testament (Rom 16:25-26; 1 Tim 3:16; 1 Cor 1:25-27; 2:7; Eph. 1:9; 3:3-4; 5:32).  The Church was called, not from the Jews, but from the Gentiles.

The mystery of the Church includes the indwelling of Christ.  "Christ in you" means Christ indwelling you.  Every Church Age Believer is indwelt by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as evidence of belonging to the Royal Family of God.  The indwelling of Christ is the confidence, or hope, of glory.  "Glory" refers to the Resurrection and the glorious Resurrection Body.  The indwelling of Christ in the body of the CAB symbolically marks the believer as belonging to Christ and sharing His Resurrection.

Hope in the Millennium

Romans 15:12
Again Isaiah says,
"There shall come the root of Jesse,
And He who arises to rule over the Gentiles,
In Him the Gentiles shall hope."
The root, or descendant, of Jesse is the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of David, who will arise to rule the nations of the Earth in the Millennium.  He will rule over Israel and all the other nations (the Gentiles).  The word, "Gentiles," can also be translated nations in both the Greek and Hebrew.  This verse is a quote from Isaiah 11:10 in the Septuagint.  The last line is also quoted in Matthew 12:21.

"In Him (Christ) the Gentiles shall hope."  In the Millennium all the nations of the Earth will have confidence (hope) in the Lord Jesus Christ.  He will be their Savior.  At the beginning of the Millennium all the people on Earth will be believers.  Later, almost everyone, with few exceptions, will be a believer.  Thus, the Gentiles of the Earth will have confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ, and will willingly submit to His authority as King.  This indicates Z-axis alignment with Him.

Obedience to the Holy Spirit

Fellowship with Christ only comes through the Holy Spirit.  Because Christ is in Heaven and we are on Earth, we do not see Him or hear His voice.  The Holy Spirit provides the connection to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is in His Resurrection Body at the right hand of the Throne of God.  The Holy Spirit is the agent of Christ, and the Holy Spirit fills our soul.  Therefore, our fellowship with Christ is provided by the Holy Spirit.  If we are not filled with the Holy Spirit or if we do not obey the Holy Spirit, we do not have fellowship with Christ.

Jesus Christ explained to His disciples that when He left, the Holy Spirit would be sent to be their Counselor (ref. Jn 14:26).  Jesus Christ promised to send the Holy Spirit from the Father (Jn 15:26).  The Holy Spirit is the agent of Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit does not communicate on His own behalf but on behalf of Christ.

John 16:13 Prophecy of Holy Spirit
But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you in all Truth (Doctrine); for He will not communicate from the source of Himself, but whatever He shall hear, He will communicate, and the things that are coming, He will disclose to you.
The Holy Spirit will guide believers in all Truth (Bible Doctrine).  He will reveal the Spiritual meaning of scripture, and He will reveal how the events of life correspond to scripture.  The Holy Spirit does not speak audibly or visibly, and He does not originate communication.  He communicates what comes from the Father or the Son.  The Holy Spirit also reveals prophecy.  However, there is no prophecy in the Church Age.
John 16:14-15
14  He (the Holy Spirit) will glorify Me (Christ), because He will take what is from Me and will disclose it to you.
15  All things that the Father has are Mine; because of this I said that He takes what is from Me and will disclose it to you.
The Holy Spirit does not do anything of His own initiative.  He subordinates Himself to the Father and the Son.  The Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ.  He honors Christ and magnifies Him.  The Holy Spirit takes what comes from the source of Christ and discloses it to believers.

All that belongs to the Father, also belongs to the Son.  Therefore, the Son can give the believer all things through the Holy Spirit.

1 John 2:27 Holy Spirit Teacher
Furthermore, as for you, the anointing which you have received from Him (Christ) abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you; but just as His anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie; and since He has taught you, abide in the sphere of Him.
"Anointing" refers to the filling of the Holy Spirit (1 Jn 2:20).  Just as oil was used for anointing and the olive oil in the lamps of the Golden Lampstand of the Tabernacle symbolized the Holy Spirit, so "anointing" symbolizes the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit was given to Church Age Believers at Pentecost (Acts 2:3-4).  The Holy Spirit is our teacher, who reveals doctrine to us.  The Holy Spirit "abides in you."  This refers to the filling of the Holy Spirit, not the indwelling.  The teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit comes through the filling and not the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit teaches what "is true and is not a lie."

"Abide in the sphere of Him" refers to the filling of the Holy Spirit and to fellowship with Christ through the Holy Spirit.  The believer who is filled with the Holy Spirit is in fellowship with Christ, although he may not know it without the knowledge of Bible Doctrine.  Jesus Christ is His Word, and without knowing the Word there will be no knowledge of Christ.

Filling of the Holy Spirit

The filling of the Holy Spirit is required for fellowship with Christ.  The filling of the Holy Spirit protects the believer from the Old Sin Nature (OSN), which is the source of personal sins that destroy fellowship with God.
Romans 8:2
For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the Law of sin and of death.
"The Spirit" is the Holy Spirit.  "Life" is Eternal Life.  "The Spirit of Life" refers to the Holy Spirit, who gives Eternal Life to the believer.  "The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus" refers to the principle of the Holy Spirit, who gives Eternal Life to the believer in Christ.  The believer with the Holy Spirit of Eternal Life is set free from the Law of sin and death.

"The Law of sin and death" refers to the Mosaic Law, which defined sin that led to death (Rom 3:20; 7:8-11; 1 Cor 15:56).  The filling of the Holy Spirit was not available under the Mosaic Law.  It came into being in the Church Age.  "The Law"  is used twice in this verse to contrast the filling of the Holy Spirit in the Church Age to being without the filling of the Holy Spirit under the Mosaic Law.  The filling of the Holy Spirit in the Church protects from sin and death, and the weakness of the flesh without the filling of the Holy Spirit under the Mosaic Law led to sin and death.

Romans 8:4 Fulfilling the Law
In order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk under the domination of the flesh (OSN), but under the control of the Spirit.
The filling of the Holy Spirit enables the believer to be free from sin and therefore to fulfill the Mosaic Law.  The believer who is under the control of the Spirit through the filling of the Holy Spirit is not dominated by the OSN ("the flesh").  The filling of the Holy Spirit protects the believer from the influence of the OSN.  In contrast, those under the Mosaic Law did not have the protection of the filling of the Holy Spirit.  Walking refers to ordering one's behavior, or execution of life.
Romans 13:14
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and stop making provision for the flesh (OSN) in regard to its lusts.
"Put on the Lord Jesus Christ" is analogous to clothing oneself with Christ.  This is a metaphor for fellowship with Christ.  The believer should be in fellowship with Christ.  In contrast, the believer should stop making any provision for the OSN with its lusts.  This requires the filling of the Holy Spirit.  Fellowship with Christ requires the filling of the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:16 Walk by the Spirit
But I say, walk by means of the Spirit, and you will absolutely not carry out the lust of the flesh (OSN).
"Walk by means of the Spirit" refers to operating in the filling of the Holy Spirit.  "Absolutely not" is a strong Greek negative, which is composed of ou + me, where ou is the strategic negative and me is the tactical negative.  Taken together, they close the door without any possibility of opening it.  The filling of the Holy Spirit absolutely protects the soul against the lust of the OSN.  The lusts of the flesh are generally associated with Lawlessness, but they can also be associated with reaction and Legalism.
Galatians 5:24
Now, those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh (OSN) with its passions and desires.
"Those who belong to Christ" refer to believers.  The implication is that they are in fellowship with Christ.  They have crucified the flesh (OSN).  This refers to Retroactive Positional Truth whereby we died to sin when Jesus Christ paid for our sins on the Cross.
Galatians 5:25
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
"If we live by the Spirit" means that we have Eternal Life by means of the Holy Spirit.  This is a Greek first class condition, which means if and it is true.  It is true that we have Eternal Life by means of the Spirit.  "Let us walk by the Spirit" refers to operating in the filling of the Holy Spirit.  The believer who is not filled with the Holy Spirit is dysfunctional and unable to have fellowship with Christ.

Obey His Commandments

All scripture comes from God.  It is "God-breathed," which is the Greek qeovpneusto" (theopneustos), from (qeov")  (theos, God) + (vpnevw) (pneo, breathe) (2 Tim 3:16).  It is the "thinking of Christ" (1 Cor 2:16).  Jesus Christ is the Word (John 1:1, 14; Rev 19:13).   As the revealed member of the Godhead, Jesus Christ is the communicator of scripture.  He is the One who speaks to man.  He is His Word.  Therefore, fellowship with Him comes through obeying His commandments.

Fellowship with Christ begins at Salvation.

Matthew 11:28 Invitation to Salvation
Come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I alone will give you rest.
"Come" is the Greek interjection deu'te (deute), meaning "Come! or Come on!" It is an invitation to Salvation.  "Come to Me" is a metaphor for belief in Jesus Christ at Salvation.  "All who are weary" refers to weariness and exhaustion of those trying to survive the Cosmic System in the energy of the flesh.  This includes weariness from the subconscious garbage from depression.  "And heavy laden" refers to those under the burdens of life.  Those bent from burdens exhibit problems in warning, intensified, and dying discipline.  This may be revealed by bowed fingers.1

"And I alone will give you rest" this refers to rest for the soul due to being saved.  The rest comes from Salvation by Grace in which God does the work and the believer rests in the finished work of Christ.  It is rest and refreshment from the weariness and burdens of life in the Cosmic System.  The believer no longer has to worry about Salvation.  This rest is Eternal Security after Salvation.  Faith in Christ for Salvation provides eternal rest from the cares and burdens of the world.

Matthew 11:29 Rest of the Spiritual Life
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall discover rest for your souls.
A yoke is a symbol of slavery.  But this is Christ's yoke.  This is like a double yoke in which Christ pulls one side, and we walk along beside him on the other side.  This is Grace.  This yoke symbolizes submission to the authority and discipline of Christ for the Spiritual life after Salvation.

"Take My yoke upon you" is a command to orient to our Salvation.  "And learn from" is a command to learn Bible Doctrine.  Learning Bible Doctrine is fellowship in the Word (Matt 18:20).   The commandments of the Word are the boundaries for staying in fellowship.  When we keep the Word, we are in fellowship with Christ.

"For I am gentle and humble in heart."  The Lord Jesus Christ is not a harsh master.  He is not a slave driver or a tyrant.  He is kind and gentle.  He has our best interests at heart.   He loves us.

"And you shall discover rest for your souls."  The Lord's yoke provides rest for the soul because of Grace.  He provides and we receive the benefits.  Submission to His authority provides freedom from the tribulation, stress, and strain of the world for those who are weary and heavy-laden.

John 14:15 Reciprocal Love for Christ
If you Love Me, you will keep My commandments.
Love for Christ motivates the believer to observe Bible Doctrine.  Obedience to Bible Doctrine is a test of the Love for Christ.  Loving Christ requires faith (Bible Doctrine) in the ECS (Eph 3:17).   It requires alignment of the Spiritual X, Y, Z axes.  Bible Doctrine establishes the boundaries within which the Love for Christ exists.
John 15:10 Love of Christ in the Believer
If you keep My commandments, you will remain in the sphere of My Love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and remain in the sphere of His Love.
"If you keep My commandments" this is the prerequisite for fellowship with Christ.  This is X-axis alignment of the Spiritual life.  It is obedience to the doctrine in the ECS.

"You will remain in the sphere of My Love."  This is Y-axis alignment.  The believer who keeps the commandments will receive the Love of Christ.  The commandments are the boundaries for receiving the Love of Christ.  The Love of Christ received in the heart of the believer is evidence of fellowship with Christ.

Jesus Christ demonstrated this principle in His human body in Hypostatic Union.  When He was on Earth, He kept the Father's commandments and remained in the sphere of His Love.  In His human body, He did exactly what He commanded his disciples to do.  Abiding in Love is only possible by obeying the commandments.

1 John 2:3 Knowing Jesus Christ
And, by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.
Knowing Jesus Christ is a prerequisite for loving Him.  Loving someone requires knowing him.

We know we are in fellowship with Jesus Christ if we keep His commandments.  If we violate the commandments, we are out of fellowship.  Keeping His commandments refers to executing Bible Doctrine.  Executing Bible Doctrine requires Spiritual understanding (epignosis), which comes from believing Bible Doctrine to accomplish the faith transfer from the left lobe to the right lobe of the soul.

Evaluation Throne of Christ

After the Rapture all Christians must stand before the Evaluation Throne of Christ to be evaluated for the things done in the body.  They themselves will not be judged, but their dead works will be burned, and they will receive rewards.  The believer who realizes that he will be held accountable for every idle word will take his Christian life seriously.  He will live every day with respect for the Lord, who will evaluate him on that day.  Living each day under the authority of the Lord is one of the aspects of fellowship with Christ.
Romans 14:10
You there! Why do you judge your brother?  Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt?   For we will all stand before the Tribunal (Evaluation Throne) of God.
The strong believer should not judge the weak one or vice versa.  God is the Judge, and we must all stand before the Tribunal of God after the Rapture.  "Tribunal" is the Greek bh'ma (bema), which from the Latin refers to a tribunal or evaluation throne from which a commander evaluated his troops or an official sat in judgment (Matt 27:19).  After the Rapture the Lord Jesus Christ will sit on this Throne to evaluate Church Age Believers for God the Father.  The believers will not be judged, but they will be evaluated.  Their deeds will be judged.
2 Corinthians 5:10 Evaluation Throne of Christ
For we must all appear before the Evaluation Throne of Christ that every one may be rewarded for the things which were done through the body, whether Good or worthless.
At the Evaluation Throne of Christ every believer will be rewarded for the deeds in this life.  The deeds will be evaluated based upon whether they were Good or worthless.  "Good" is the Greek ajgaqov" (agathos), for good of intrinsic value (Eph 6:8), which refers to Divine Good.  "Worthless" is the Greek fau'lo" (phaulos), for worthless to the point of being evil.
Colossians 3:23 Serving in Work
Whatever you do, do your work from your soul, as to the Lord, and not to people;
This verse was addressed to slaves, who were commanded to do their work as to the Lord and not to people.  Even slaves should execute the Spiritual life on the job.
Colossians 3:24 Serving Christ
knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.  You serve the Master Christ.
Eternal rewards will be received from the Lord at the Evaluation Throne for doing one's job.  The believer's inheritance will be received at the Evaluation Throne and in the Eternal State (1 Pet 1:4).  Rewards are part of the inheritance.2

"You serve the Master Christ."  "Serve" is the Greek douleuvw, (douleuo), which means to perform the duties of a slave, serve, obey.  The concept of serving Christ like a bondslave is used extensively in the Epistles (Acts 2:18; 3:13 (Jesus); Rom 1:1; 6:22; 1 Cor 7:22; 2 Cor 6:4; 11:23; Gal 1:10; Phil 1:1; 2:8; Col 4:12; 1 Ti 4:6; Tit 1:1; Jas 1:1; 1 Pet 2:16; 2 Pet 1:1; Jud 1; Rev 1:1; Moses, Heb 3:5; 12:28; 13:15-17; angel, Rev 19:10).

Slaves, like free people, are under the authority of Christ.  He is the One who will evaluate all of us.  That evaluation will determine our status for all Eternity.  All believers have equal opportunity to execute the Spiritual life, but in Heaven all believers are not equal.  Where there is freedom to succeed, there will be inequality.

Victory Over Satan

The Lord Jesus Christ won the victory over Satan on the Cross (Jn 12:31).  He paid for sins, from which Satan derived his power, and He overcame death, the last enemy (1 Cor 15:26, 56; Heb 2:14).  Having won the victory over Satan, the Lord has great spoils to distribute to Church Age Believers (Isa 53:12).  These spoils are part of the inheritance of believers.  The Lord will distribute them to believers who have the capacity to handle them.

The Lord's victory over Satan includes power over demons (Lk 11:20).  Satan rules the world with a powerful army of demons, but the Lord has defeated them.  Because of the Lord's victory, He is able to give the believer power over demons and plunder the demon strongholds and possessions.

Matthew 12:29
Or how can anyone enter into the house of the strong man, and steal his household furnishings, unless he first binds the strong man?  And then he will thoroughly plunder his house.
The house of the strongman is Satan's domain.  Stealing his household furnishings is analogous to taking Satan's holdings or seizing his demons.  Satan's holdings include people, who are enslaved through the power of sin.

Binding the strong man requires the power of God, since Satan is the most powerful creature.  Only when Satan is bound (neutralized), can someone plunder his house (kingdom) (Mk 3:27).   Binding Satan is accomplished through Grace (Jn 6:44; 2 Cor 9:8; 12:9; Heb 4:16; Rev 3:7-9).  It includes executing the Spiritual life (Gal 5:16; Heb 12:1, 4), using the Problem Solving Devices, living in the Tree of Life 4 (Prov 3:18), and growing to Spiritual Maturity to become strong (Eph 6:10; 1 Jn 2:13).  In Spiritual Rapport, the Christian can defeat Satan.  For a thorough explanation see Binding Satan.3

Believers are supposed to advance to Spiritual Rapport and defeat Satan and his demons.  Such winner believers will receive Eternal rewards, including crowns (2 Tim 4:7, 8).  They are the elite Special Forces of Spiritual Warfare, and they enjoy personal fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, their Commander-in-Chief.   The Lord directs the warfare and goes into battle with them (Deut 1:30).

John 16:33 Peace in Christ
These things I have communicated to you in order that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you have tribulation; but take courage, I have overcome the world.
Jesus knew that his disciples would be scattered when He went to the Cross.  Satan would try to divide and conquer.  Therefore, the Lord communicated doctrine to them to strengthen them, and He prayed for them (Jn 17).  He gave them doctrine in order for them to have peace.  The peace would be in the sphere of Christ, "in Me."  This means in fellowship with Christ.  Fellowship with Christ was through the Holy Spirit while He was on the Earth as well as after He departed.  Fellowship with Christ requires application of Bible Doctrine and alignment of the X, Y, Z axes of the Spiritual Life, which produces Spiritual Rapport with God and harmonious rapport with Jesus Christ, the Head of the Body.

"Peace" is the Greek eijrhvnh (eirene), which means peace, tranquility and harmony (John 14:27; 20:19; Phil. 4:7; Col. 3:15; Gal 5:22).  It is the  Aramaic amlvìîà (Shalom').  Harmonious rapport with Christ produces peace and tranquility of soul.

"In the world you have tribulation."  The world is the Cosmic System of Satan.   The believer who is in the Cosmic System has tribulation.  The ECS does not stabilize the believer in the Cosmic System.  The believer in the world is in a place of conflict (Jas 4:1-6).

"But take courage, I have overcome the world."  Since Jesus overcame the world, His disciples should "take courage" and not be afraid because He has won the victory for them.  "Courage" refers to battle courage in Spiritual Warfare.  In the Aramaic this is bbl (lebab), meaning "take heart."  Jesus Christ overcomes the world (Cosmic System) (Rev 5:5; 17:14).  He won the victory on the Cross (Eph 4:8; Col 2:15; 1 Jn 3:8).  The winner believer overcomes the world (Jn 16:33; Rom 8:37; 2 Cor 2:14; 4:7ff; 1 Jn 4:4; 5:4; Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 26-28; 3:5, 12, 21; 12:11; 21:7).  The world hates Jesus Christ and the believer (Jn 15:18-25; 17:14; 1 Jn 3:13).

Fellowship with Christ is the power against the counterattack from the Cosmic System.  This fellowship is called:

  1. The "Power of Christ" (1 Cor 1:24; 5:4; 2 Cor 12:9; Phil 3:10; Heb 12:2)
  2. Dining, fellowship in the Word (Rev. 3:20)
  3. Abiding (Jn 14:21, 23; 15:4-5; 2 Cor 6:16; Eph 3:17; 1 Jn 2:4-6, 24; 3:24; Rev 3:20; 21:3).
Triumphal Procession

After the victory on the Cross, Jesus Christ led Satan and his conquered demons in a triumphal procession.  Also in the triumphal procession were the Old Testament saints who were taken from Abraham's Bosom to Heaven.  They had been left in the heart of the Earth as captives (Prisoners of War) until Jesus paid for their sins.

Colossians 2:15
When He (Christ) had disarmed demon Commanders and Managers, He made a public display of them, after leading them in a triumphal procession by means of Himself.
In the victory of the Cross, Jesus Christ disarmed Satan and his demon armies.  "Commanders" is the Greek ajrchv (arche), meaning commander or ruler; taken from the word, beginning.  It refers to demon Commanders in Satan's army (ref. Col 1:16).  "Managers" is the Greek ejxousiva (exousia), meaning authority; freedom of choice; the right to act or decide for yourself; Manager.  It refers to demon Managers.  Jesus Christ led Satan and his demon army in a triumphal procession before God the Father and all the angels of Heaven.

In a triumphal procession the conquering general led the conquered king along with captives and spoils from the war to the throne of the conquering king.  The conquered king and his captives were forced to kneel at the footstool of the conquering king, who gave a thumbs up or down to spare or execute them.

Ephesians 4:8
Therefore, it says,
When He (Christ) had ascended on high,
He led captive (in triumphal procession) the captives (from Abraham's Bosom)
And gave gifts to men.
"It says" means the scripture says.  This is a quote from Psalm 68:18.  "When He had ascended on high" refers to Jesus Christ going to Heaven after His victory on the Cross.  "He led captive the captives" is the Greek translation of a Hebrew idiom.  "He led captive" means that Christ led in triumphal procession.  "The captives" are the Old Testament saints from Abraham's Bosom (Lk 16:22) who were being held captive until Jesus finished paying for their sins.  They could not go to Heaven until their sins had been paid for, even though God had granted them clemency and passed over their previously committed sins (Rom 3:25).

So, the Old Testament saints were in the triumphal procession along with the fallen angels.  The Old Testament saints were accepted into Heaven, where they are now awaiting the Resurrection at the Second Advent when they will receive their Resurrection Bodies.  The fallen angels, however, were rejected and sent back to the Earth, awaiting the execution of their sentence in the Lake of Fire.

Defeating Satan

John outlined three stages of the Christian life.  They are:

  1. Beginner children
  2. Intermediate young men
  3. Adult fathers
The Christian life begins at Salvation.
1 John 2:12
I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you because of His (Jesus') name.
"Little children" refers to those who have just been saved.  Their sins were forgiven when they believed in Jesus Christ.  "Little children" are beginners in the Christian life.
1 John 2:13
I am writing to you, fathers, because you have come to know the One who is from the beginning.  I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.  I have written to you, children, because you have come to know the Father.
"Fathers" are adults in the Christian life.  They are in Spiritual Maturity.  They have come to know (through Spiritual growth) the One from the beginning, i. e. Jesus Christ.  The mature believer has fellowship with Jesus Christ from learning Bible Doctrine.  The doctrine in the ECS gives him the discernment to recognize Jesus Christ as revealed by the Holy Spirit.

"Young men" in the intermediate stage "have overcome the evil one."  They have defeated Satan in Spiritual Warfare.  Spiritual Warfare occurs in a phase of Spiritual growth before Spiritual Maturity.  In this phase the believer fights in the ranks of the Lord's Army, and Satan is defeated.  This is not the same as the Evidence Testing that Job encountered before reaching Spiritual Rapport.

The last line of this verse should go with the next verse.  The tense switches from present to aorist.  The Epistolary Aorist places the writer at the viewpoint of the reader.   This is translated "I have written."  John has written to "children," which is the Greek paidivon (paidion), for young children.  "Children" are beginners, who are beginning to learn Bible Doctrine.  The "children" have come to know the Father.  Babies know only their mothers, but as they mature, they get to know their fathers.  "Come to know" refers to the process of entering into fellowship with the Father through learning Bible Doctrine.

1 John  2:14
I have written to you, fathers, because you have come to know the One who is from the beginning.  I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
"Fathers" are Spiritual adults who have come to know the One from the beginning.  This is the process of entering into fellowship with Christ through metabolization of Bible Doctrine.  Children have fellowship with the Father, and adults have fellowship with Jesus Christ.

"Young men" in the intermediate stage are strong Spiritually.  They have capacity for life and love.  The Word of God abides in them.  They have metabolized Bible Doctrine, and it is in their Edification Complexes of the Soul.  And they have overcome the evil one in Spiritual Warfare.  They have won victories over Satan by being obedient to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is their Commander.  Thus, submission to the authority of Christ in Spiritual Warfare brings victories over Satan.

Time Axis

Time Axis
Spiritual Rapport
Harmony
Discord
Discord in Marriage
Christian Soldier
Waiting for Help, Blessing
Waiting for Promotion
Demotion from the Lord
Strife
Jealousy
Anxiety

Time Axis

With everything in God's Design, there is an appointed time.  There is a time to be born, and a time to die (Eccl 3:2).  Jesus Christ came to Earth in "the fullness of time" (Gal 4:4; Eph 1:9, 10).  He gave Himself as a ransom (Redeemer) at the right time (Rom 5:6; 1 Tim 2:6).  He revealed the mystery doctrine of the Church Age at the proper time (Titus 1:3).  And He will return for the Church at the proper time (1 Tim 6:14-15).

Because Jesus Christ was in Spiritual Rapport with the Father, He knew when it was time to go to the Cross (Jn 17:1).  In His humanity Jesus had a personal sense of destiny.  He knew His purpose was to go to the Cross, and He knew when that time had arrived.  He was cautious  about going to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles (about 6 months before the Crucifixion) because it was not yet His time (Jn 7:6, 8).  He didn't want to be arrested too early.  He was supposed to go to the Cross during the Passover, which would be the next April.

Before Jesus performed His first miracle, He said His hour had not come (Jn 2:4).  When they ran out of wine at the wedding feast, His mother came to Him and put the problem in His hands (Jn 2:3).  He relented and turned water into wine (Jn 2:1-11).

When the Pharisees and Sadducees asked Jesus to show them a sign from heaven, He related to them weather signs (Matt 16:1).  A red sky at evening means good weather, and a red sky in the morning means a storm (Matt 16:2, 3).  They knew the signs of the weather but not the signs of the times (Lk 12:56).  The  Pharisees and Sadducees did not have harmony with Jesus Christ.  They did not understand the Spiritual life, and they did not know God the Father.  Therefore, they lacked harmony with Jesus Christ.  They didn't know what dispensation they were in.  They were religiously trying to keep the Law when the author of the Law and Savior of the world had come.

Similarly today, those who do not know what dispensation they are in and who do not have fellowship with the Father, do not have harmony with Jesus Christ either.  Those who are trying to keep the Mosaic Law or think they are in the pre-canon period of the Church Age, are hopelessly out of tune with Jesus Christ.  Their timing is off.  Anyone who is not in fellowship with the Father will not be in fellowship with Christ either.

Spiritual Rapport

The ultimate goal of the Spiritual life is to reach Spiritual Rapport.   Spiritual Rapport is beyond Spiritual Maturity.  Reaching Spiritual Rapport requires defeating Satan and his demon army.  The believer in Spiritual Rapport is able to walk with God and be in harmony with Him.  He has fellowship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  He is not confused and led astray by Satan's lies and trickery.

It is possible, however, to have periods of rapport with God in the filling of the Holy Spirit before reaching the status of Spiritual Rapport.  Even the immature believer can have times of rapport with God.  The filling of the Holy Spirit is fellowship with God.  Of course, the clarity and truth of the relationship with God will be subject to misconceptions, illusions, and lack of doctrinal discernment in immaturity.

Spiritual growth improves rapport with God (Jn 17:17; 2 Pet 3:18).  And the daily metabolization of Bible Doctrine provides consistency in fellowship with God.  The believer who does not learn Bible Doctrine daily is like a person who does not eat every day.  It leaves the person weak and subject to carnality.

Paul

The life of Paul gives insight in the advance to Spiritual Rapport.  In 58 AD he wrote Romans from Corinth.  In Romans he expressed his plan to go to Rome by way of Spain after he finished his trip to Jerusalem (Rom 15:25, 28).  He was going to Jerusalem to offer a Nazirite vow and to take an offering to the Church at Jerusalem.  Offering a Nazirite vow in the Church Age was evil, which Paul should have known.  And Paul didn't need to carry the money personally to Jerusalem.

Paul was blind-sided by Satan.  He wanted to be a normal pastor and have the respect of his peers in the Jerusalem Church.  But God wanted Paul to press on to Spiritual Maturity and advance into the heart of the enemy at Rome.  It can be argued that Paul went to Jerusalem in reversionism.  Job's friends said the same thing about him.  But Paul's single-minded advance to Jerusalem against all odds, with friends warning him at every stop, is indicative of the final push to Spiritual Maturity through Suffering.5,6

Paul wrote in Romans about Spiritual Rapport, although he had not yet attained Spiritual Maturity.

Romans 15:29
And I know that when I come to you, I will come in the fulness of  blessing from (the source of) Christ.
"The fulness of blessing from Christ" is Spiritual Rapport.  Paul was looking forward to Spiritual Rapport, but he had not yet reached Spiritual Maturity.  He would understand this after four years of suffering when he wrote Ephesians.  Ephesians was written in 62 AD while Paul was a prisoner in Rome.   He went to Rome via shipwreck on Malta.  Ephesians was Paul's first epistle after four silent years since he wrote Romans.  Note, the four silent years do not necessarily mean Paul was silent.  He wrote other epistles that were lost in history.  There are no epistles that have been found from the four silent years.
Ephesians 4:13
until we all attain to harmony with the Faith (Bible Doctrine), and of the epignosis-knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man (Spiritual Maturity), to the measure of the standard of the fulness of Christ (Spiritual Rapport).
This demonstrates that Spiritual Maturity comes before Spiritual Rapport.  The standard of measure of Spiritual Rapport is the unique Spiritual Life that Jesus Christ lived in His humanity when He was on Earth.  Jesus Christ was in Spiritual Rapport with God the Father.

The last epistle Paul wrote from Rome was Philippians in 63 AD.  By then he had reached Spiritual Maturity.

Philippians 3:14 Advance to the Goal of Life
I keep on advancing toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Paul is advancing to the goal of Spiritual Rapport.  He is looking forward to receiving the winner's prize.  The prize is the reward of the Crown of Righteousness, which he will receive after attaining Spiritual Rapport before his death in the spring of 68 AD (2 Tim 4:6-7, 8).
Philippians 3:15
Therefore, as many as are Spiritually mature, let us keep on thinking this; and if y'all think differently on some point, even this God will reveal to y'all;
Here Paul includes himself in the category of those who are Spiritually mature.  He has attained Spiritual Maturity.  "Let us keep thinking this" means the sound doctrine taught by Paul.  If anyone thinks differently about some point of doctrine, then God the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth (1 Jn 2:27).  "Y'all" is the Greek second person plural, which could be translated "you all" or "y'all."  The plural indicates that Paul is speaking to the congregation.

Harmony with God

The strategic objectives of the Christian life are to advance to Spiritual Maturity and Spiritual Rapport.  Promotion to each of these levels involves rigorous testing and extreme suffering.  The suffering is to get rid of our own fat-headed arrogance.  Paul's advance to Jerusalem was motivated by his desire for self-promotion and human good.  When he survived the suffering for Spiritual Maturity and began to advance to Spiritual Rapport, his strategic objective changed to Christ and only Christ (Phil 3:7, 8).

Attaining Spiritual Maturity and Spiritual Rapport are major hurdles in attaining harmony with God.  When we learn to live by Grace and accept God's design for our lives, we have harmony with Him and do not have the friction and distractions that lead to carnality and result in Divine punishment.   Spiritual Rapport is the state of maximum rapport with God and glorification of God to the maximum.  It is harmony with each member of the Godhead, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  It is also the state of maximum blessing and reward of the winner believer.  And it includes the Spiritual power and strength to meet the challenges of the world and counterattacks of the devil without losing stride.

Harmony

Christians who are in rapport with God will also be in harmony with each other.  Those who Love Jesus Christ will Love each other.  Christians in Spiritual Rapport are the ultimate team.  Paul encouraged the Philippian congregation to achieve this harmony.
Philippians 2:1
Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of Love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if there is any affection and compassion,
Paul begins with a series of 'if's', which are Greek first class conditions, meaning 'if and it is true.'
"If there is any encouragement in Christ" yes, there is encouragement in fellowship with Christ to live the Christian life.
  1. "If there is any consolation of Love" yes, there is consolation in Divine Love.
  2. "If there is any fellowship of the Spirit" yes, there is fellowship with God through the Holy Spirit.
  3. "If there is any affection and compassion" yes, the Love of Christ includes intimate affection and compassion.
If any of these things are true (and they are), then the apodosis in the next verse must be true.
    Philippians 2:2
    make my Happiness complete such that you may keep on thinking the same things (Divine viewpoint), having the same Love, soul rapport, harmonious thinking.
If any of the things in the preceding verse are true, then Paul continues, "Make my Happiness complete."  This Happiness is Divine Happiness, which Paul shares with God.  He wants his Happiness to be complete, which means full, or complete, Happiness.  He then gives a list of things that would contribute to his complete Happiness.
  1. That the Philippians might keep thinking the same things (Divine viewpoint).  This is the hope that they will be filled with the Holy Spirit, able to think doctrine, and have Divine viewpoint.  Having Divine viewpoint means seeing from God's perspective.  This is rapport with God.
  2. That the Philippians would have the same Divine Love   this means having reciprocal Love for God.  Those with this Divine Love will also be able to Love others.
  3. "Soul rapport" this is the Greek suvmyuco"  (sumpsuchos), from sun (together) + psuchos (soul), meaning "unified in soul" or "soul rapport."  Christians who are in Spiritual Rapport with God are also in harmonious rapport with each other.
  4. "Harmonious thinking" this is the Greek fronevw (phroneo, to think) + the Greek ei|" (heis, one), which means "thinking in harmony."  Christians in Spiritual Rapport with God will also be thinking in harmony with each other.  They will be thinking with Divine viewpoint and therefore in harmony with one another.
Philippians 2:3
Do nothing from selfish ambition nor from empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as superior to yourselves;
In contrast to the harmony of those in Spiritual Rapport with God is the dissonance of those who are not in Spiritual Rapport.  The Philippians were admonished to "do nothing from selfish ambition and empty conceit."  "Selfish ambition" is associated with the sin of jealousy.  It was the sin of Satan (Is 14:14).  It knocks out love and destroys any hope of harmony.  "Empty conceit" is the Greek kenodoxiva (kenodoxia), from (kenov", vain, empty) + (dovxva, glory) = empty conceit.  This is the mental attitude sin of pride, which is empty and without merit in relation to God.  There will be no true love or harmony with those who are full of empty conceit.

In contrast, Christians should behave with humility toward others.  The person with humility is a candidate for Grace.  He is willing to submit to Divine authority.  He is willing to keep his nose out of other people's business.  He is willing to live and let live.  He is willing to consider others as superior to himself and to put others first.  This attitude creates harmony with others because of the rapport that already exists in the Spiritual life with God.

Philippians 2:4 Look Out for Others
not each one looking out for your own interests, but also each one for the interests of others.
The attitude of genuine humility is further exemplified by not looking out for one's own interests but looking out for the interests of others.  Thoughtfulness of others is characteristic of those who are not full of their own self-importance.  Those with genuine humility can relax and join the human race.  Their expression of impersonal Love for all mankind is sensitive to the needs of others.

The need for harmony between two women in the Philippian congregation was addressed by Paul.

Philippians 4:2
I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to have the same thinking in the Lord (Divine viewpoint).
The nature of the rift between Eudia and Syntyche is not given, but it was causing a hindrance in their Spiritual lives.  Eudia means prosperous journey, and Syntyche means pleasant acquaintance.  If the names are any indication, the women were opposites.  Eudia was a business type, and Syntyche was a social type.  Paul urged them to have the same thinking in the Lord, i.e. to have Divine viewpoint about their problem.  If they applied the Spiritual solution, they would have harmony.
Philippians 4:3
Indeed, true companion (yokefellow), I ask you also to assist (in bringing together) these women who have teamed up with me in the Gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.
Paul asked the assistance of one of the trusted men in the Philippian congregation to assist Eudia and Syntyche.  The man's name is not given, but he is addressed as "true companion," which literally means yokefellow.  Paul mentioned that Eudia and Syntyche had previously served with him as team members in spreading the Gospel.   Here the Greek sunaqlevw (sunathleo), from (suvn, with) + (ajqlevw, to be an athlete, compete) = struggle, or compete, along with.  Eudia and Syntyche were previously team players in harmony with each other in the Spiritual life.  A good team requires players with different skills.  However, personality clashes can destroy the team.  Reacting to other Christians can destroy the congregation as well as the individual Spiritual life.

Paul then mentions Clement and other fellow workers, who are Christians and whose names are in the Book of Life.7  The problem between the two women is in danger of spreading through the congregation as the members take sides in the dispute.  This makes it a matter of urgency to solve.

Discord

To contribute to harmony and avoid discord, Peter added another list of suggestions.
1 Peter 3:8
To sum it all up, let all be thinking in harmony, sympathetic, loving the brethren, compassionate, and humble;
Suggestions for harmony include:
  1. "Thinking in harmony" this is the Greek oJmovfrwn (homophron), from  (oJmov", one and the same,) + (frhvn, thinking), meaning thinking in harmony, like-minded, harmonious, united.  Thinking in harmony requires Divine viewpoint as the focus of thinking.  When people have the same viewpoint from the perspective of Bible Doctrine, there will be harmony.  Thinking alike apart from Divine viewpoint does not contribute to the right kind of harmony.  Compatible Old Sin Natures does not contribute to harmony with God.
  2. "Sympathetic" this is sensitivity to the problems of others.  It comes from love.  This includes being empathic, which is actually feeling other people's pain.
  3. "Loving the brethren" this is the Greek filavdelfo" (philadelphos), from  philos (love) + delphos (brethren), meaning love of the brethren.  This is a special personal Love which God provides for fellow Christians.  Loving obnoxious believers and carnal believers requires impersonal Love.
  4. "Compassionate" this comes from Divine Love in the soul.  It includes Gracious Love, kindness, and thoughtfulness of others.
  5. "Humble" humility includes respect for authority and Grace Orientation.  True humility is respect for God.  Genuine humility means eyes off self.
1 Peter 3:9
not returning evil for evil, insult for insult, but on the contrary, blessing; because, for this purpose you were called, that you might inherit blessing.
The Christian with harmonious rapport with others is not vindictive.  He does not retaliate with evil when evil is done to him, or trade insult for insult.  "Insult" is the Greek loidoriva (loidoria), meaning railing, abuse, reproach.  It is the fuel of quarrels.  It takes two to tango.  When one won't stop, discord is escalated.  One shouts, and the other shouts louder.

Blessing

In contrast, the Christian with love should be blessing because he was called to be a Christian to receive an inheritance (great blessing) from God.  "Blessing" is the Greek eujlogevw (eulogeo), from (eu[, well) + (logevw, speak) = to speak well of; bless.  Blessing doesn't mean sprinkling holy water over a person and chanting phrases of Papal piety.  And it doesn't mean saying, "God bless you, brother."  First, blessing means not retaliating.

Proverbs 26:20
For lack of wood the fire goes out,
And where there is no gossiper, contention quiets down.
Retaliating is like adding fuel to the fire.  Even the whispering of gossip behind a person's back is retaliating.  Not retaliating means leaving the problem in the Lord's hands.  When there is no retaliation, the quarrel or conflict will quiet down.

Cursing is a form of retaliation.

Romans 12:14
Bless those who are persecuting you; bless and stop cursing.
Blessing is the opposite of cursing.  Even in the face of persecution, the Christian should bless.  He should overcome evil with Good.  He should "bless and stop cursing."  "Stop cursing" is the Greek imperative of prohibition, consisting of the negative me with the present imperative.  It means stop doing something you are doing.  It is human nature (from the Old Sin Nature) to retaliate in some way for persecution.  The prohibition is to stop cursing.  A case for application of this verse is the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

"Bless those who are persecuting you" means to rely on the power of God while you are being persecuted.  Blessing takes different forms depending upon the situation.  In the case of ridicule, malicious gossip, or insults, blessing may mean simply leaving the matter in the Lord's hands.  Later, intercession and forgiveness are in order.  In the face of someone who is angry or threatening, the situation needs to be diffused without escalation.  If the situation permits, a silent prayer can be offered to deliver the person from evil or forgive him of his sins.  By all means, don't say or do anything to exacerbate the situation.  Behaving quietly, calmly, and cautiously is in order.

In cases where there is threat of danger, it is not the time for praying but for thinking and acting to alleviate the current threat.  If the threat involves others, that is a game changer.  To stand idly by and let another person die is not a sign of Christian Love but evidence of cold hearted cowardice.  Further, blessing does not mean submitting to a criminal attack, such as allowing someone to batter you.  Criminality is no different from military aggression.  Both are attacks on the freedom of the nation. Criminals are not to be tolerated.

Luke 6:28
Bless those who are cursing you; pray for those who are harassing you.
Cursing is any form of opposition or antagonism, whether couched in courtesy or blatantly malicious.  Where there is cursing, there is Bible Doctrine to handle it.  If the source of the cursing is Satan, there are ways to deal with the real enemy, who is the evil one.  If the cursing is due to jealousy or bitterness, prayer for forgiveness is in order.  If the cursing is necessary due to God's Plan, as in the case of Joseph and his brothers, it must be endured and forgiven.  Joseph would have accomplished nothing by pronouncing a blessing on his evil brothers.  But later he was able to forgive them and understand God's Plan for himself.

"Pray for those who are harassing you."  This is intercessory prayer (Matt 5:44).  "Harassing" is the Greek ejphreavzw (epereazo), which means to threaten abusively, treat vexatiously, harass, insult, threaten, mistreat, abuse.  Thus, it has a range of meanings from mistreatment to abuse.  Intercessory prayer includes prayer for the perpetrator to be forgiven of sins and delivered from evil.  If Satan is causing the problem, the prayer for deliverance from evil will remove his power over the person.  Prayer for the perpetrator to be forgiven of his sins will diffuse the antagonism.  Of course, if one who is praying harbors a grudge, the prayer will be non-operational due to the sin of vindictiveness.

1 Peter 3:10
For the one who desires to love life and see Good days, must refrain his tongue from evil and his lips not to speak deceit.
This begins a quote from Psalm 34:12-16 from the Septuagint.  It provides requirements for the one who desires to love life and see Good days.  Of course, this refers to the New Christian Life.  And seeing Good days refers to a time of Grace that produces Divine Good in life.  The New Life and the Good days are Grace blessing from God.  They indicate rapport with God.  In order to preserve rapport with God, a person must control his tongue and refrain from speaking evil.  Evil is the policy of Satan.  Servitude to Satan is not conducive to rapport with God.

The person who wants blessing in life must also keep his lips from speaking deceit.  Deceit is duplicity from the Old Sin Nature and from Satan.  It is a sin of the tongue, and God will have nothing to do with sin.  Sin destroys the filling of the Holy Spirit and separates the believer from God.  Therefore, deceit also destroys rapport with God.

1 Peter 3:11
He must turn away from evil and produce Divine Good;
He must seek peace and pursue it.
The use of "must" here is a Greek third person imperative, which is a strong command.  In order to have rapport with God, a Christian must turn away from evil.  Evil is Satan's policy, and there is no way to have rapport with God when a person is following Satan.  Rapport with God includes production of Divine Good.  "Divine Good" is the Greek ajgaqov" (agathos), for good of intrinsic value.  Divine Good is only produced in Grace.  It is not earned or deserved.  It is provided by God for the believer who has the capacity for it.

In order to maintain rapport with God, the Christian must also "seek peace."  Peace is not the peace on Earth of the peace movement or the peace sign of pacifists.  It is the peace that is the production of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22).  It is the Greek eijrhvnh (eirene), which means peace and prosperity, tranquility.  It is the counterpart of the Hebrew Shalom, which is Divine Peace that includes peace with God and man, in addition to health and well-being.  This peace comes from rapport with God in contrast to conflict with the world.

1 Peter 3:12
Because the eyes of the Lord are upon the Righteous
And His ears to their prayer;
But the face of the Lord is against those who practice evil.
Eyes, especially the eyes of the Lord, are a symbol of Grace.  The eyes of the Lord upon the Righteous is an idiom for the Lord's Grace directed toward the Righteous (Job 36:7; Ps 33:18; 34:15-17; 37:25, 39; 55:22; 92:12; Prov 12:7, 13, 21; 13:21; 15:6; 29:16).  The Righteous are believers in fellowship with God with their X-axes aligned.

The ears of the Lord also listen to the prayers of the Righteous (Prov 15:29).  He listens because their X-axes are aligned with Him, and their requests are legitimate.  They are in rapport with Him.  In contrast, "the face of the Lord is against those who practice evil."  Setting the face against symbolizes opposition (Psa 34:16; Jer 44:11; Amos 9:4).  The Lord opposes those who practice evil, which is Satan's policy.  Thus, being Righteous is a sign of rapport with the Lord Jesus Christ, while practicing evil destroys rapport and brings opposition.

Discord in Marriage

Christian Marriage is a corporate testimony in the Spiritual life.  The first Marriage failed because of sin.  As long as there was rapport with God, there was harmony between the man and the woman.  But when the man and the woman sinned, they were at each other's throats.  The perfect marriage degenerated into discord and conflict.  Sin is still the problem that causes separation from God and discord in Marriage.
1 Peter 3:7
You husbands likewise, dwell together with your wives according to knowledge (of Bible Doctrine), as a weaker vessel who is a woman; and grant her honor as a joint-heir of the Grace of Life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
Christian Marriage must be executed in the Spiritual life.  Husbands should live with their wives according to knowledge of Bible Doctrine. Marriage is for Spiritual adults, not children.  The husband must exercise leadership in Marriage through knowledge of Bible Doctrine.  The wife is called a "weaker vessel" not because she is physically weaker or inferior, but because she is in a weaker, subordinate, position under the man's authority.  "Each of you learn to possess his own wife by means of sanctification and honor" (1 Thess 4:4).

The Christian husband should honor his wife as a "joint-heir" of the Grace of Life.  Christians become joint-heirs with Jesus Christ at Salvation as members of the Royal Family of God (Rom 8:17; Eph. 3:6).  The Spiritual calling of the wife is not inferior because of gender.  She is a member of the Royal Family of God just as the husband is.  "The Grace of Life" refers to the Grace of God in Eternal Life.  The Spiritual blessings of the woman are independent of gender (Gal 3:28).

"So that your prayers may not be hindered" lack of harmony in Marriage hinders prayers from being answered.  "Prayers" refers to the function of the priesthood.  In the Church Age every believer is a priest.  The prayers of the husband and wife are hindered.  Lack of domestic tranquility hinders the Grace of God in the Spiritual lives of believer priests.  It hinders the Spiritual life.  Marriage Culture is the foundation of society.8  Failure in Marriage leads to grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit and thwarts the function of the priesthood and its prayers.

"Hindered" is the Greek ejgkovptw (egkopto), from (ejn, in) + (kovptw, cut, knock) = hinder, thwart; to impede, to arrest, from the military practice of making slits in the street to hold up a pursuing enemy; hence, "to block the way" (Rom. 15:22).9  So, "hindered" is like the road blocks and slits in the road that interrupt the Spiritual life.  Lack of harmony in Marriage, hinders Spiritual Rapport with God.  This is not about married couples praying together.  It is about the function of the priesthood (the Spiritual life).

The problem that hinders Marriage is sin.  Sin may be inspired by Satan, the world, or the Old Sin Nature.  It may come from lawlessness (e.g. unrestrained licentiousness and impurity) or legalism (e.g. bitterness and disrespect).  When sin disrupts Marriage, God hinders the function of the priesthood (Spiritual life) because Marriage is the most important human relationship in this life.  God cannot deliver the inheritance to a married couple when the Marriage, which is included in the inheritance, is dysfunctional.

Thus, the husband is commanded to live with his wife according to knowledge of Bible Doctrine, which means executing the Spiritual life with her.  He must lead her and not be insensitive to her.  She should also follow him and not be disrespectful (Eph 5:22, 33).  Why?  Because if the Marriage fails, the Spiritual life will also suffer.  Why?  Because Marriage is the most basic relationship in human life.  It is the root of society.  Failure to execute the Spiritual life in Marriage means loss of Grace support for the Spiritual life outside of Marriage.   This also applies to the Right Man Right Woman relationship inside or outside of Marriage.10  Fornicators and adulterers God will Judge (Heb. 13:4).

If either partner in Marriage torpedoes the relationship, the Marriage is dysfunctional, and the Spiritual lives of both partners will suffer.  God will oppose the two.  If one party is not guilty, that one will still suffer greatly.  They are in the boat together.  This case is like Adam after the woman sinned.  The suffering can be handled with the Problem Solving Devices.  Regardless of Marriage success or failure, the two partners are accountable until death parts.  The Grace solution is always available for either party.   Either party can Rebound and return to God.  Then the suffering will be turned to blessing (1 Pet 3:14), and the Spiritual life on Earth will not be a waste.

Marriage to an Unbeliever

A Christian is prohibited from marrying an unbeliever.

2 Corinthians 6:14  Marriage to Unbelievers
Stop being unequally yoked to unbelievers; for you see, what partnership has Righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
Marriage between a Christian and an unbeliever is called being "unequally yoked."  There can be no Spiritual harmony in such a marriage.  Just as there can be no partnership between "Righteousness and lawlessness," the Righteous Christian cannot be partner to the lawless unbeliever.  They are opposites, just as the Spiritual life and lawlessness are incompatible.  Similarly, just as there can be no fellowship between light and darkness, there can be no fellowship between the Christian in the Light with the unbeliever, who is in spiritual darkness.
2 Corinthians 6:15 Dichotomy of Christ and Belial
And what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what part has a believer in common with an unbeliever?
"What harmony has Christ with Belial?"  "Harmony" is the Greek sumfwvnhsi" (symphonesis), from (suvn, together) + (fwnhv, sound) = agreement, harmony.  This is the English word, symphony.  Right Man Right Woman (husband and wife) should have harmonious rapport.  "Belial" is actually spelled "Beliar" in the Greek, but it refers to Belial, which is the devil, from the meaning of worthlessness.  "Belial" comes from the Hebrew from lu^Y^l!B+(Belijja`al), meaning worthlessness, both deep-rooted moral corruption and abysmal destruction (Ps 18:4; 2 Sa 22:5).

Just as there is no harmony between Christ and the devil, there is no harmony between a believer and an unbeliever.  The believer belongs to Christ, and the unbeliever belongs to the devil.

In spite of all this, if a Christian marries an unbeliever, the Christian should not divorce the unbeliever (1 Cor 7:12, 13).  If one of the parents is a Christian, the children are not unclean (1 Cor 7:14).  God will sanctify them as belonging to Christian parents.  If the unbeliever wants a divorce, it is permissible since he is not bound by the Bible anyway (1 Cor 7:15).  In some cases the Christian partner may be responsible for the Salvation of the unbelieving partner (1 Cor 7:16).

NextNext

References

1.  Larry Wood.  Hands in Scripture, "Meaning of the Fingers," July 17, 2013.
2.  Larry Wood.  Doctrinal Definitions, "Inheritance," Mar. 10, 2013.
3.  Larry Wood.  Satan, the Super Creature, "Binding Satan," May 4, 2013.
4.  Larry Wood.  Trees of Life and Evil in the Soul, "Tree of Life," Oct. 1, 2012.
5.  Larry Wood.  Satan, the Super Creature, "Paul," July 21, 2013.
6.  Larry Wood. Babylon the Great, "Paul and the Prostitute of Babylon," March 14, 2013.
7.  Larry Wood.  "God's Books," Apr. 11, 2009.
8.  Larry Wood.  Marriage Culture, Aug. 21, 2010.
9.  Vol. 3: Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964- (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (855). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
10.  Larry Wood.  Right Man Right Woman, Nov. 30, 2011.

Author:  Larry Wood,   Released - September 12, 2013 - Revised Nov 8, 2013

Top Author Comments Home