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The No-Name God

A Bible Study by Fred Kenison

 

18  Letters of the Apostles


Adoption for good works

 

 

Galatians

Ephesians

Philippians

Colossians

I Thessalonians

II Thessalonians

I Timothy

II Timothy

Titus

Philemon

 

Summary Highlights of Chapter 18

 

 

Galatians

 

In Galatians 1:11-12, Paul reveals the source of his knowledge about spiritual things.

"But I make known to you, brethren, the glad tidings which was announced by me, that it is not according to man. For neither from man I received it, nor was I taught [it], but by a revelation of Jesus Christ."

 

Paul stated unequivocally that what he knew about the gospel of the kingdom of The God was not learned at the feet of any man, but had been a revelation from Jesus Christ. What he preached to the Galatians was what he had learned directly from Jesus.

 

Then, in Galatians 1:15-17, Paul spoke of a proper time.

"But when the god was pleased, who selected me from my motherís womb, and called [me] by his grace, to reveal his son in me, that I should announce him as the glad tidings among the nations, immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood, nor went I up to Jerusalem to those [who were] apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and again returned to Damascus."

 

Paul began to proclaim the glad tidings according to The Godís schedule. Paul had many things to learn, and how he learned as much as he did was a function of the grace he received from The God. Since he was in a desert area, perhaps Paul lived the same kind of life for that three years as did John, the Baptist.

 

Galatians 4:4-5 also refers to the godís timing.

"But when the fullness of time came, the god sent forth his son, come of woman, come under law, that he might ransom those under law, that we might receive adoption."

 

Despite scriptures such as this which clearly say we are adopted, some people still insist that we are the actual offspring of The God, in the same sense as those of a human father. All people were adopted through the work of Jesus, the Christ, which came according to The Godís plan.

 

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Ephesians

 

Ephesians 1:3-6 says,

"Blessed [be] the god and father of our lord Jesus Christ, who blessed us with every blessing spiritual in the heavenlies with Christ; according as he chose us in him before [the] foundation of [the] world, for us to be holy and blameless before him in love; having predestinated us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to [the] praise of [the] glory of his grace, wherein he made us objects of grace in the beloved."

 

How many blessings did The God bless us with? The answer is "with all spiritual blessing in the heavenlies."  These were all wrapped up and delivered to us in the person and work of his son, Jesus. The purpose of all these blessings was for adoption through Jesus Christ to himself.

 

So, why did The God do all these wonderful things for us? It was "to the praise of the glory of his grace."  The God desires all those he created to praise him for his grace, for all of those undeserved and unmerited blessings which he has freely bestowed upon us.

 

How does The God now look upon us? He sees us as "holy and blameless before him in love." We are holy because we have been set apart to The God through the sacrifice of his son. We are blameless because Jesus bore our guilt and punishment.

 

And where are we situated for all time? We are "in the beloved." We are thus able to receive all these blessings because we are accepted by The God as being one with Jesus, the Christ.

 

There are so many marvelous facets to The God. It is a puzzle why we hear so little about The Godís attributes, other than that he loves us. Yes, he does love us; but there is so much more, too. Paul only listed a few of these "every spiritual blessings," yet most of them are unknown in the average congregation of "christians."

 

Ephesians 1:9-10 says,

"Having made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in himself for [the] administration of the fulness of times; to head up all things in the christ, both the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth."

 

Many churches are all caught up in doing something to "bring in the kingdom."  The idea that what men may do will cause the second coming of Jesus, the Christ, is nullified by the comment "fullness of times."  The return of Jesus is completely in the hands of The God, and will occur strictly according to his timetable, regardless of what men may do.

 

Ephesians 2:4-7 says,

"But the god, being rich in mercy, because of his great love wherewith he loved us, also we being dead in offences, quickened [us] with the christ (by grace are ye saved), and raised [us] up together, and seated [us] together in the heavenlies with Christ Jesus, that he might shew in the ages that [are] coming the surpassing riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus."

 

The three key words here are quickened, raised, and seated. All of these are written to indicate that mankind was quickened, or resurrected, at the same time as was Jesus. We were raised, or ascended, to the father at the same time as was Jesus. And, we were seated together with and at the same time as was Jesus.

 

If we would look at ourselves from the heavenly perspective, all of us might realize that through grace we have already been granted resurrection and ascension to the Father, and we have been seated in a place of power at the right hand of The God. We have been granted the blessing of drawing the power to live our lives in a righteous manner from the same source as did the lord, Jesus, the Christ.

 

So, how well will we do? Our success will be in direct proportion to the degree we have committed ourselves to The God. When we have done that, then we will be led and empowered by that portion of holy spirit which has been bestowed upon us by the grace of The God. Jesus committed himself perfectly with the result that he was able to leave a full inheritance to every soul born upon this earth. Hopefully, many will sufficiently subject themselves to The God so that they may draw upon his power to retain an entrance into a blessed place in the next age.

 

Ephesians 2:10 relates The Godís preparation for all of his human creation.

"For we are his workmanship, created in christ Jesus for good works, which the god prepared before that we should walk in them."

 

Here is a scripture which can be pondered by those interested in finding what works are pleasing to The God, and which works are not pleasing. However, the focus of this study is on the attributes of The God. The attribute shown here is that he has prepared beforehand the ways we should walk to produce good works.

 

Ephesians 2:12 says,

"That ye were at that time apart from christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, not having hope, and without god in the world."

 

This verse is often misunderstood. The words without god come from atheoi, which is an adjective, not a noun. An adjective is descriptive, and in this case, it is describing people. They were impious, or godless, which is still a good description of many peopleís attitudes.

 

Ephesians 3:8-9 says,

"To me, the less than the least of all the saints, was given this grace, to announce glad tidings among the nations, the unsearchable riches of the christ, and to enlighten all [as to] what [is] the fellowship of the mystery which has been hidden from the ages in the god, who created all things by Jesus christ."

 

Not only were all the glad tidings hidden in The God, but The God was also hidden.

 

Ephesians 5:5-6 relates the attitude, or attribute, of The God toward those who walk in disobedience.

"For this ye know: that any (every) fornicator, or unclean person, or covetous, who is an idolater, has not inheritance in the kingdom of the christ and of god. Let no one deceive you with empty words; for on account of these things comes the wrath of the god upon the sons of disobedience."

 

One reason the wrath of The God comes to bear upon unbelievers, or those who practice the above sins, is that wrath is a discipline. Wrath also falls within the parameter of The Godís love.

 

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Philippians

 

Philippians 1:11 says,

"Being filled with fruits of righteousness which [are] by Jesus christ, to godís glory and praise."

 

This is part of Paulís prayer, and it again substantiates the above statements as to what constitutes good works, and where they find their impetus. Good works come not from ourselves, but by Jesus, the Christ. The word by comes from dia, indicating a secondary influence. As always, The God is the primary force in all good.

 

Philippians 2:5-11 says,

"For let this mind be in you, which [was] also in Christ Jesus; who, subsisting in [the] form of god, esteemed it not rapine to be equal with god; but himself emptied, having taken a bondmanís form, having become in [the] likeness of men; and in figure having been found as a man, he humbled himself, having become obedient unto death, even death of [the] cross. Wherefore also the god highly exalted him and granted to him a name which [is] above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [beings] in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] lord to [the] glory of god [the] father."

 

This substantiates the teaching of the Old Testament that Jehovah was a god, the god of Israel.

 

The first two uses of the word "god" are anarthrous, without the definite article. In other words, while in the form of a god, he did not think it was robbery to be equal with a god. Jesus then took upon himself the outward form and the inward nature of a man, suffered the ignominy of the cross, and because of this was highly exalted by The God.

 

Paulís remarks in Philippians 2:13 reinforce his earlier statements about the source of good works.

"For it is the god who works in you both to will and to work according to [his] good pleasure."

 

We might note that several manuscripts do not have the definite article. Without it, this would read, "for it is a god who works...."  Whichever is correct, the meaning is clear.

 

Concerning those who are not walking circumspectly, Philippians 3:19 says,

"Whose end [is] destruction, whose the god [is] the belly, and the glory in their shame, who mind earthly things."

 

Here is an example of how the words "the god" do not always refer to the invisible god of heaven. In this case they were written to indicate what some people make to be their version of "the god."  Furthermore, it was used to point out a specific god, whatever or whomever it may be. This is a good example of why scripture must be read in context in order to facilitate proper understanding.

 

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Colossians

 

Colossians 1:12-18 says,

"Giving thanks to the father, who made us competent for the share of the inheritance of the saints in the light, who delivered us from the authority of darkness, and translated [us] into the kingdom of the son of his love; in whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins; who is [the] image of the god the invisible, firstborn of all creation; because by him were created all things, the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones, or lordships, or principalities, or authorities; all things have been created by him and for him. And he is before all, and all things subsist in him. And he is the head of the body, the assembly; who is [the] beginning, firstborn from among the dead, that in all things he might be holding first place."

Paul said that it was the Father who made us competent to share in the inheritance of the saints. We had nothing to do with it, except to submit ourselves.  It was The God who delivered us from the authority of darkness, or ignorance. He gave us the knowledge that in Jesus we have redemption through his blood, or death, and the remission of our sins.

 

Paul also said that Jesus is only an image of The God. An image is not the same as the one who casts the image. Therefore, Jesus only pictured The God and his attributes to mankind. He was a god manifest in the flesh (see I Timothy 3:16).

 

This part of the scripture could be referring to the fact that Jehovah, the god of Israel, became manifest in the flesh, not that Jesus was The God manifest in the flesh. Or, that Jesus was the word, ho logos, of The God, and what he said and did was only what The Godwanted mankind to know about himself.

 

The scriptures are quite clear that no man has ever seen The God, nor will they ever see him (I Timothy 6:16). Jesus said that no man has seen the form of The God, nor heard his voice (John 5:37).

 

Jesus was also the first-born of all creation. Jesus, formerly Jehovah, came into being when The God spoke and said,

"Let there be light." (Genesis 1:3).

 

The word, or Jehovah, now Jesus, was created before the light.

 

This is the reason Paul said that by him, Jesus, were all things created, and that he is before all things, and in him all things subsist, or have their being. The Godís interactions with mankind always involve his son somewhere in the process.

 

Colossians 1:27 says,

"To whom the god will to make known what [are] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the nations, which is christ in you, the hope of glory."

 

Although the KJV translated the word hon as whom, we believe it should have been translated as which. Because it is a relative pronoun, in the neuter, hon does not refer to christ, but rather to the word mystery. The mystery was what was being revealed to the Gentiles, or nations, and the mystery was christ in you the hope of glory.

 

What is our hope of glory? It is the hope of entering the kingdom of The God in a place of blessing. And, if this occurs, then we will be a portion of that body, or christ, which rules the world, with Jesus as the head.  The word christ, as used here, was not referring to Jesus, but to the body politic which will rule and reign with him. To be part of that group is our hope.

 

Paul expounded further on this point in Colossians 2:16-17.

" Therefore not let anyone judge you in meat or in drink, or in respect of feast, or new moon, or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of the christ."

 

Some translators believe that the words "of the" should be left out, making this read "the body is christ."  Taken in conjunction with other scriptures, that appears to be more accurate.

 

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I Thessalonians

II Thessalonians

 

These books reveal few new attributes about The God, which is why they have been grouped together. In these scriptures, Paul was doing more teaching about the walk and the hope, rather than revealing any new attributes of the invisible god.

I Thessalonians 4:3-4 says,

"For this is the godís will, your sanctification, [for] you to abstain from fornication, each of you to know [how] to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor."

 

Paul was telling the Thessalonians what was at least some of The Godís will. In this instance, it was their sanctification, or set-apartness from fornication, of which he spoke. The particulars of this matter was especially for them to know "how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor."

 

The word vessel comes from skeuos, which means

"a vessel...to be used in religious rites, Heb. ix.21; unto dishonor, i.e. for a low use [as, a urinal], Ro. ix.21. to skeous is used of a woman, as the vessel of her husband, 1 Th. iv.4." (Thayer, p. 577).

 

The words to possess come from ktasthai, which means,

"to procure for himself his own vessel (i.e. for the satisfaction of the sexual passion; see skeuos, 1). in sanctification and honour, i.e. to marry a wife (opp. to the use of a harlot); the words en ay. k. tiun are added to express completely the idea of marrying in contrast with the baseness of procuring a harlot as his Ďvesselí." (Thayer, p. 363).

 

Paul went on to express to the Thessalonians that they should not,

"... go beyond and to overreach his brother in the matter; because [the] avenger [is] the lord concerning all these things, even as also before we told you and fully testified." (I Thessalonians 4:6).

 

In other words, adultery with another manís wife is also included in the ban concerning fornication.

 

I Thessalonians 4:14 says,

"For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so also those who are fallen asleep, the god, through Jesus, will bring with him."

 

This verse describes who will come with Jesus when he returns. Again, The God is the primary force in the resurrection. However, the "him" refers to Jesus, not to The God. The point is that The God is coming again only in the sense of Jesus, his representative.

 

It is Jesus who will bring the overcomers back with him when he comes to rule and reign over this earth. It is Jesus who will shout with the voice of an archangel for the dead to rise. Then the overcomers, who come forth with spiritual bodies, will rise to meet him in the air, and will escort Jesus to his seat as the king of kings and lord of lords.

 

II Thessalonians 2:7-12 says,

"For the mystery of lawlessness is already working; only at present [there is] he who restrains until he be [gone] out of [the] midst, and then the lawless [one]will be revealed, whom the lord will consume with the breath of his mouth, and annul by the appearing of his coming; whose coming is according to [the] working of satan in every power and signs and wonders of falsehood, and in every deceit of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they received not the love of the truth for them to be saved. And on account of this the god will send to them a working of error, for them to believe what [is] false, that may be judged all who believed not the truth, but delighted in unrighteousness."

 

The "he" who restrains is the holy spirit, which at some time in the future will be withdrawn from restraining lawless men, or satan. Then, they will use every sign and wonder and power at their disposal to cause men to turn against The God. Why will men do this? Because they "received not the love of the truth," or of the holy spirit, which is the truth (see I John 5:6). For this cause they will perish, or will be in outer darkness during the kingdom of The God upon this earth.

 

I Timothy 2:5 says,

"For god [is] one, and one mediator of god and men, [the] man Christ Jesus."

 

This is such a clear distinction between The God and Jesus that to believe they are the same requires a terrific blind spot. We need to understand here that we go to The God only through the mediation of our high priest, Jesus. Only Jesus occupies a position midway between The God and man. Any other man sees The God in revelation only at The Godís option, and that revelation will come from The God through his son, Jesus, who mediates between the two.

 

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I Timothy

II Timothy

 

I Timothy 4:1-5 is nearly a parallel to II Thessalonians 2:7-12.

"But the spirit expressly speaks, that in latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and teachings of demons, speakers of lies in hypocrisy of, being cauterized [as to] their own conscience, forbidding to marry, [bidding] to abstain from meats, which the god created for reception with thanksgiving for the faithful and who know the truth. Because every creature of god [is] good, and nothing to be rejected, with thanksgiving being received; for it is sanctified by godís word and intercourse [with him]."

 

It is those who shall depart from the faith who will listen to the people speaking untruths to them. It is not that they will not have faith, but they will have departed from believing "the faith," or all the glad tidings about Jesus, and his return to rule and reign upon this earth. [For more information on the passages from both Timothy and Thessalonians, see our book, The Apocalypse of Revelation.]

 

II Timothy 3:16-17 points out that,

"Every scripture [is] god-inspired and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for discipline which [is] in righteousness; that the man of the god may be complete, fully fitted to every work good."

 

The word translated god-inspired comes from theopneustos, which is composed of two words, theo and pneo, god and breath. This could be translated as god-breathed, as well as god-inspired. Paul definitely credits The God in the formulation of the word which was written down by the prophets and the apostles.

 

The purpose of the word is for teaching, conviction, correction, and discipline in righteousness, so that the man of The God may be complete. Teaching is one of the greatest short-comings of the modern church movement. God-called teachers who seriously study what scripture actually says are usually not permitted to practice their calling in the modern church. If they are allowed to teach, then they are normally subjected to the oversight of the pastor who censors what they teach. Any new revelation of the word is squelched because most pastors require that the teachers stay safely within the parameters of denominational doctrines.

 

Conviction is in the province of the word. It is the word which convicts of all but one sin. Many people claim that it is the holy spirit which convicts of sin, but the scriptures teach that the holy spirit convicts of only one thing: not believing on Jesus as being the christ (see John 16:9).

 

Correction by the god-inspired word is the only authority a pastor has over "his flock."  If people will not be corrected by the word, then a pastorís authority ends there.

 

The word is also for discipline, which is very similar to correction. The purpose of discipline is for people to reach full growth, or maturity, so they may serve The God and his son, Jesus, the Christ. They can then serve as a mature son, able to bear responsibility, or fully fitted to every good work.

 

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Titus

 

Titus 3:4-7 says,

"But when the kindness and the love of our savior god appeared to man, not by works which [were] in righteousness which we practiced, but according to his mercy he saved us, through [the] washing of regeneration and renewing of holy spirit, which he poured out richly on us through Jesus christ our savior; that having been justified by this grace, we should become heirs according to [the] hope of life eternal."

 

The word savior is applied to both god and Jesus Christ. The God became our savior because of his mercy. Our works never have anything at all to do with our gift of salvation from The God. It is bestowed upon us because of The Godís mercy and grace.

 

The God provided our salvation through the "washing of regeneration, and renewing of holy spirit."  Peter said that we are regenerated, or born anew, by the word (I Peter 1:23).

 

The words "renewing of holy spirit" are quite intriguing. How could holy spirit be renewed if holy spirit had never been? Holy spirit, a portion of the holy spirit, was poured out upon all flesh after the ascension to Jesus to the right hand of the father.

 

Throughout the Old Testament, only priests, prophets, kings, and a few others chosen for a special work had a portion of holy spirit. Then, when was holy spirit ever upon mankind so that it was now renewed?

 

When Adam sinned, there was a great loss to mankind, and a part of that loss must have been a portion of holy spirit upon every person. At that time, only Adam and Eve existed. When Adam sinned, he lost the portion of holy spirit given to him, and he began to die.

 

Now, The God has renewed a portion of holy spirit upon all flesh. We have been blessed by these graces through Jesus Christ, our savior. Mankind is now heir to the hope of eternal life, which is a part of The Godís grace. However, whether or not we actually keep our inheritance must wait upon the revelation of whether or not it has been retained.

 

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Philemon

 

No new attributes were found in this book.

 

 

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Summary Highlights of Chapter 18

 

# All people were adopted (as children of God) through the work of Jesus,

     the Christ, who came according to The Godís plan.

 

# The God desires all those he created to praise him for his grace, for all of

     those undeserved and unmerited blessings which he has freely

     bestowed upon us.

 

# How does The God now look upon us? He sees us as "holy and

     blameless before him in love." We are holy because we have been set

     apart to The God through the sacrifice of his son. We are blameless

     because Jesus bore our guilt and punishment.

 

# There are so many marvelous facets to The God. It is a puzzle why we

     hear so little about The Godís attributes, other than that he loves us.

     Yes, he does love us; but there is so much more, too.

 

# The return of Jesus is completely in the hands of The God, and will

     occur strictly according to his timetable, regardless of what men may

     do or say.

 

# We were quickened, or resurrected, at the same time as was Jesus. We

     were raised, or ascended, to the father at the same time as was Jesus.

     And, we were seated together with and at the same time as was Jesus.

 

# If we would look at ourselves from the heavenly perspective, all of us

     might realize that through grace we have already been granted

     resurrection and ascension to the Father, and we have been seated in a

     place of power at the right hand of The God. We have been granted the

     blessing of drawing the power to live our lives in a righteous manner.

 

# Our success will be in direct proportion to the degree we have

     committed ourselves to The God. When we have done that, then we will

     be led and empowered by that portion of holy spirit which has been

     bestowed upon us by the grace of The God.

 

# The God has prepared beforehand the ways we should walk to produce

     good works.

 

# One reason the wrath of The God comes to bear upon unbelievers, is

     that wrath is a discipline. Wrath also falls within the parameter of The

     Godís love.

 

# Scripture must be read in context in order to facilitate proper

     understanding.

 

# Paul also said that Jesus is only an image of The God. An image is not

     the same as the one who casts the image. Therefore, Jesus only pictured

     The God and his attributes to mankind.

 

# The scriptures are quite clear that no man has ever seen The God, nor

     will they ever see him (I Timothy 6:16). Jesus said that no man has seen

     the form of The God, nor heard his voice (John 5:37).

 

# Our hope of glory is the hope of entering the kingdom of The God in a

     place of blessing. And, if this occurs, then we will be a portion of that

     body, or christ, which rules the world, with Jesus as the head. 

 

# It is Jesus who will bring the overcomers back with him when he comes

     to rule and reign over this earth. It is Jesus who will shout with the voice

     of an archangel for the dead to rise. Then the overcomers, who come

     forth with spiritual bodies, will rise to meet him in the air, and will

     escort Jesus to his seat as the king of kings and lord of lords.

 

# There is such a clear distinction between The God and Jesus that to

     believe they are the same requires a terrific blind spot. We go to The

     God only through the mediation of our high priest, Jesus. Only Jesus

     occupies a position midway between The God and man. Any other man

     sees The God in revelation only at The Godís option, and that revelation

     will come from The God through his son, Jesus, who mediates between

     the two.

 

# It is those who shall depart from the faith who will listen to the people

     speaking untruths to them. It is not that they will not have faith, but

     they will have departed from believing "the faith," or all the glad

     tidings about Jesus, and his return to rule and reign upon this earth.

 

# The purpose of the word is for teaching, conviction, correction, and

     discipline in righteousness, so that the man of The God may be

     complete.  It is the word which convicts of all but one sin. Many people

     claim that it is the holy spirit which convicts of sin, but the scriptures

     teach that the holy spirit convicts of only one thing: not believing on

     Jesus as being the christ (see John 16:9).  The word is also for discipline,

     which is very similar to correction. The purpose of discipline is for

     people to reach full growth, or maturity, so they may serve the god and

     his son, Jesus, the Christ.

 

# Correction by the God-inspired word is the only authority a pastor has

     over "his flock."  If people will not be corrected by the word, then a

     pastorís authority ends there.

 

# When Adam sinned, he lost the portion of holy spirit given to him, and

     he began to die.  Now, The God has renewed a portion of holy spirit

     upon all flesh. We have been blessed by these graces through Jesus

     Christ, our savior. Mankind is now heir to the hope of eternal life,

     which is a part of The Godís grace. However, whether or not we

     actually keep our inheritance must wait upon the revelation of whether

     or not it has been retained.

 

 

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October 2009

 

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