Scripture quotations taken from the NASB



There are many hundreds of religions in the world. Some claim that God told their founders proprietary truths, and they were then written down in official books for their religion. The ideas from different religions often conflict with each other denoting either that God has come up with a large offering of variety, or that a number of ideas are actually wrong. In Christianity the Holy Spirit can reveal to you what is truth and what is not. However, religions' adherents tend "religiously" to defend their doctrine. It seems that their minds are made up. The mind is where thinking occurs. It can be analytical making sense of the input it gets, or imaginative creating original thoughts. It is a tool which helps determine whether something is true or false. But it doesn't inherently know everything, so processes like the scientific method may have to be implemented. The conscience can determine whether something is right or wrong but it doesn't necessarily depend on the logical mind for this.

Paul explained "you are slaves of the one whom you obey . . . [such as] sin resulting in death" (Ro 6:16). But now you "present your members as slaves to righteousness resulting in sanctification" (:19). "The outcome [results in] eternal life" (:22). God "is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified" (Ac 20:32). "You were washed, . . . sanctified . . . [and] justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God" (1Co 6:11). These facets are a package deal representing instantaneous regeneration and are not phases of a long, drawn out process. "God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth" (2Th 2:13). Christ "became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption" (1Co 1:30). He accomplished this "having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time" (Heb 10:12) and "has perfected for all time those who are sanctified" (:14).

"This is the will of God, your sanctification" (1Th 4:3). The Hebrew word qadash means to be set apart, holy, or consecrated. The Greek word hagiazo means to make holy, purify, or dedicate. Christians are "beloved of God . . . called as saints" (Ro 1:7). The term comes from the same root word as "consecration". Moses told Israel, "'You are a holy people to the Lord . . . for His own possession'" (Dt 7:6). Joshua told them, "'He is a holy God'" (Jos 24:19). God desires to have a relationship with his people but advises, "'Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I am holy'" (Lev 11:44). God told Moses to say, "'You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation'" (Ex 19:6). To accomplish this God instructs, "'You shall consecrate yourselves . . . and you shall keep My statutes and practice them; I am the Lord who sanctifies you'" (Lev 20:7-8).

Natural vs. Spiritual

Paul told the Romans "that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin" (Ro 3:9). Then in verses 10-12 he references Psalm 14:1-3 which are not exactly verbatim quotations because they are spiritually applied. Psalm 14:2 says that God "looked down from heaven . . . to see if there are any who understand", but Paul simply cites "there is none who understands" (Ro 3:11). God looks for any "who seek after God" (Ps 14:2), and Paul just says "there is none who seeks for God" (Ro 3:11). The precedent set was "all have turned aside, together they have become useless" (:12). Those references are prefaced with "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'" (Ps 14:1). One could conclude from the context that no one seeks God because they don't believe that God exists in the first place. Abraham observed, "'There is surely no fear of God in this place'" (Ge 20:11). "The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God" (:7). Many "are enemies of the cross of Christ" (Php 3:18) and "set their minds on earthly things" (:19). "A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised" (1Co 2:14).

Therefore God had to take the initiative. Stephen testified that, "'The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia'" (Ac 7:2). "The Lord said to Abram, 'Go forth from your country . . . to the land which I will show you'" (Ge 12:1). The Lord spoke to Abram as if they were face to face. Stephen explained God's appearing to Abram with the Greek word "optomai" which pertains to personal presence involving sight. Also, "the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre" (18:1) and Abram responded, "'My Lord, if now I have found favor in your sight, please do not pass your servant by'" (:3).

God circumvents man when necessary as when "suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?'" (Ac 9:4). Years later on Paul's third missionary journey they entered Europe for the first time where God's assistance was needed. At Philippi "a certain woman named Lydia . . . was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul" (16:14). "Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ" (Ro 10:17) which is quickened as in Lydia's case. "But we have the mind of Christ" (1Co 2:16). "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus" (Php 2:5). "The mind set on the Spirit is life and peace" (Ro 8:6).


When God saves a person "he is a new creature [in Christ]; the old passed away; behold, new things have come" (2Co 5:17). He becomes a heir of God's promises and is said to have a "position" in Christ. But having been reborn he needs to grow, and as he progresses, he is said to be experientially advancing. But it takes the work and grace of the Holy Spirit to establish this new creature and to build upon this foundation. This is called sanctification. It is a basic principle with God. In the beginning "God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made" (Ge 2:3). God set this day apart to himself and made it holy. It becomes that way because, as Joshua told the people, God is "'a holy God'" (Jos 24:9). "For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself" (Heb 6:13). Amos prefaced his prophecy with "the Lord God has sworn by Himself, the Lord God of hosts has declared" (Amos 6:8). Another time a prophecy began with "the Lord God has sworn by His holiness" (4:2). Not only is God the ultimate authority, his fundamental characteristic is holiness. "The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times" (Ps 12:6). "Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, and You can not look on wickedness with favor" (Hab 1:13). The essence of his being is perfection. However, he is separate and distinct from his creation. Furthermore, man lives in a sinful world because of the Fall and is not holy. Therefore he must be cleansed and God is the only one who can do it. How did it get that way? The serpent tempted them in Eden by disputing God's truthfulness saying, "'God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God'" (Ge 3:5) implying that he was keeping godliness to himself. But God's creation is not synonymous with God himself. When Eve ate the fruit it was as if she was saying I will be equivalent to God. The Antichrist "exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God" (1Th 2:4). However, "God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification" (1Th 4:8). Therefore, "this is the will of God, your sanctification" (:3). God instituted a plan to restore Israel and even prophesied the end result (Ezekiel 36,37,47; Jeremiah 17,31; Joel 2; Zechariah 14).


God gave Moses the plans for the Tabernacle at Mt. Sinai. It is a type of how God's plans would be executed. Since God had rested from his work and blessed the seventh day (Ge 2:3) it was a logical place to start. Moses told Israel, "'This is what the Lord meant: tomorrow is a sabbath observance, a holy sabbath to the Lord'" (Ex 16:23). "'It is a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls'" (Lev 23:32). Much later God reiterated through Jeremiah, "'You shall not bring a load out of your houses on the sabbath day nor do any work'" (Jer 17:22). Furthermore, "'If you listen attentively to Me,' declares the Lord . . . 'then there will come in through the gates of this city kings and princes sitting on the throne of David . . . and this city will be inhabited forever'" (:24-25). Another time God instructed, "'You shall keep My commandments, and do them: I am the Lord. And you shall not profane My holy name, but I will be sanctified among the sons of Israel: I am the Lord who sanctifies you, who brought you out from the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord'" (Lev 22:31-33). There were extensive details. For example God said, "'Sanctify to Me every firstborn, the first offering of every womb among the sons of Israel, both of man and beast; it belongs to Me'" (Ex 13:2).

It was a prophetic plan and God's designs come to pass. Through Ezekiel the goals which were expressed in Leviticus 22:31-33 were repeated. These were not just token ideas. In Ezekiel 36:25-29 God's promise of "I will" occurs nine times. He first deals with sin and idolatry. "'I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols'" (Eze 36:25). God takes control saying, "'I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you'" (:26). The Spirit will "'cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances'" (:27). He would "'gather them'" (37:21) and "'make them one nation in the land'" (:22). "'The nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever'" (:28). "'You will be My people, and I will be your God'" (36:28). Additionally, "'I will call for the grain and multiply it'" (:29). Also, God repeats, "'I will save you from all your uncleanness'" (:29) where in verse 25 it says "will cleanse" which becomes equivalent to "will save." It also says, "'I will sprinkle clean water on you'" which illustrates purification. This is a fulfillment of Moses instructing "'the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle some of the blood seven times before the Lord'" (Lev 4:6).

Made Perfect

"The Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself" (Ps 4:3) and tells him to "'be separate'" (2Co 6:17). "God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation" (2Th 2:13) and you become "saints by calling" (1Co 1:2). He told Jeremiah, "'Before you were born I consecrated you'" (Jer 1:5). "He saved us . . . according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5). "You were washed, . . . sanctified, . . . [and] justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God" (1Co 6:11). You "have been sanctified in Christ Jesus" (1:2) "through the offering of the body of Jesus" (Heb 10:10) "through His own blood" (13:12).

Paul states the purpose that "the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame" (1Th 5:23). It is for "the church of God . . . [for] all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1Co 1:2). Jesus said, "'For their sakes I sanctify Myself'" (Jn 17:19) "so that He might sanctify her" (Eph 5:26) and "present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle" (:27). This is no halfway endeavor. It is so "that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth" (Jn 17:19) and you will "be holy yourselves also in all your behavior" (1Pe 1:2). "You have in obedience to the truth purified your souls" (:22). God will "also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit" (Ro 8:11) and have "our bodies washed with pure water" (Heb 10:22). Furthermore, he will "cleanse your conscience from dead works" (9:14) and have "our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience" (10:22). "By one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified" (10:14). "You have come to Mount Zion to the spirits of righteous men made perfect" (12:22-23).

Living Water

We "are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled by His blood" (1Pe 1:1-2). Jesus is "the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood" (Heb 12:24). What else participates in sanctification? Jesus instructed, "'Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth'" (Jn 17:17). We are saved "through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth" (2Th 2:13). Jesus said that you "'may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me'" (Ac 26:18). "It is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer" (1Ti 4:5).

Paul prayed that his "offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sancified by the Holy Spirit" (Ro 15:16). "The God of peace [will] sanctify you entirely" (1Th 5:23) for it is "He who sanctifies" (Heb 2:11). God said, "'I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel'" (Eze 37:28). It is "by the sanctifying work of the Spirit" (1Pe 1:2). Jesus said, "'He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.''But this He spoke of the Spirit" (Jn 7:38-39). He told the woman of Samaria, "'If you knew the gift of God . . . He would have given you living water'" (4:10). Furthermore, "'The water I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life'" (:14). Ezekiel prophesied, "'I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean'" (Eze 36:25). It says in the Law "'he shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in running water and shall become clean'" (Lev 15:13). Zecharaiah prophesied, "'In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity'" (Zec 13:1). He is "the fountain of living waters" (Jer 2:13) "and in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem" (Zec 14:8). But "those who turn away on earth will be written down, because they have forsaken the fountain of living water" (Jer 17:13). Also, "he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you" (1Th 4:18). "Every living creature . . . where the river goes, will live" (Eze 47:9). "But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt" (:11).

Set Your Mind

"Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth" (Col 3:1). There is pure "wisdom from above" (Jas 3:17), whereas if it is not from above, it is "earthy, natural, demonic" (:15) "which amounts to idolatry" (Col 3:5). "The one who practices sin is of the devil" (1Jn 3:8). Paul told the Corinthians, "I could not speak to you as spiritual men, but as to men of flesh" (1Co 3:1). "Are you not walking like mere men?" (:3). Disobedience is not restricted just to non-Christians. He even said he would "deliver [one of the brethren] to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus" (5:5). Therefore "deny ungodliness and worldly desires" (Tit 2:12) and "live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age" (:12). "Keep seeking the things above, where Christ is" (Col 3:1).

The scriptures instruct to set your mind on the things above. But a person might say he is too busy at work needing to support his family. After all, there are laws against talking on a cell phone and driving at the same time. To make matters worse there is disease and depression. You are to keep believing, but could not these extenuating circumstances cause fatigue over time to make it harder and harder to believe? Perhaps an overriding motivation could erase lesser preoccupations. Maybe an all-encompassing world view would make smaller problems not as difficult to handle. If you focus on "the outcome, eternal life" (Ro 6:23) then "the second death has no power" (Rev 20:6). Abraham "without becoming weak in faith" (Ro 4:19) "did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God" (:20). But you need something significant to believe in to hold your attention. Abraham believed in "the promise of God" (:20). The promise according to Paul is "the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which you stand, by which also you are saved" (1Co 15:1-2). It says that "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day" (:3-4). Paul told the Romans that "God displayed [Christ] publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness" (Ro 3:25). "He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world" (1Jn 2:2). The Tabernacle pictures propitiation. Each part of it represents a facet of salvation. Christ is the sacrifice on the Day of Atonement. It is so "that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Ro 3:26) "through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus" (:25). You might say that you should set your mind on redemption and justification. "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus" (Php 2:5). He "made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant" (:7) and "humbled himself and became obedient to death" (:8).

Be Sanctified

Paul told the Corinthians to "test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!" (2Co 13:5). Did he perceive that there were some that were not aware they weren't believers, or did he suggest this knowing that the process would build their faith? How do you even know how to examine yourself? He had previously asked, "Are you not fleshly, and are you walking like mere men?" (1Co 3:3). They could be either worldly men or "spiritual men" (:1). If the latter, "he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come" (2Co 5:17). In this case Paul comments, "Do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?" (13:5). But regarding the first case he observes "unless indeed you fail the test?" (:5). Here it could be that the person "does not accept the things of the Spirit . . . [since] he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised" (1Co 2:14). How difficult would it be to test yourself and decide? If you question excessively you may become like "the one who doubts [who] is like the surf of the sea" (Jas 1:6) and become like "a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways" (:8). It is possible to be both since Paul addressed them as "men of flesh . . . [as well as] babes in Christ" (1Co 3:1). How do you determine from which part of your mind the current thought originates? "He who is spiritual appraises all things" (2:15).

If you are spiritual you "are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus" (Eph 2:10). That should answer the test question "that Jesus Christ is in you" (2Co 13:5). Paul explains "it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal 2:20). Paul does not mean that he has been "beamed up", because he refers to "the life which I now live in the flesh" (:20). It does mean "you have died [to yourself] and your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Col 3:3). He relates "in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God" (Gal 2:20). "You have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world" (Col 2:20). "If we died with Him, we shall also live with Him" (2Ti 2:11). "He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions" (Col 2:13).

Peter instructed "like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior" (1Pe 1:15). "In obedience to the truth [you] purified your souls" (:22). "Every one who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself" (1Jn 3:3). "This is the will of God . . . that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor" (1Th 4:3-4). "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?" (1Co 6:9). "Therefore do not be partakers with them . . . [but] walk as children of light" (Eph 5:7-8). Paul told them they "received from us instruction as to how to walk and please God" (1Th 4:1). He said "let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2Co 7:1). The goal is to have "clean hands and a pure heart" (Ps 24:4). "Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work" (2Ti 2:21). "The unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife" (1Co 7:14). Women should "continue in faith and love and sanctify with self-restraint" (1Ti 2:15). Pursue peace with all men, and the sancification without which no man will see the Lord" (Heb 12:14). "He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness" (:10).

Keep Commandments

Is it possible to get so distracted and out of touch that you are required to "'remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place -unless you repent'" (Rev 2:5)? A more precipitous drop would be where "the falling away comes first" (2Th 2:3). How do you protect yourself from this possibility? Christ "is able to keep you from stumbling and to make you stand" (Jude 24). The Ephesian church had "been enlightened" (Heb 6:4), had "tasted of the heavenly gift" (:4), were "partakers of the Holy Spirit" (:4), and had "tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come" (:5). But they had "left [their] first love" (Rev 2:4) and were being required to repeat their first deeds and reestablish a right attitude. Also, there are those who "have fallen away, and it is impossible to renew them again to repentance" (Heb 6:6). Reasons responsible for this are presented in the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:3-8 and 18-23. Jesus explains the remedy saying, "'If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you'" (Jn 15:7). The importance of this is cited by the words abide/abides occurring a dozen times in chapters 2-3 of First John. It comes under the subject of having a relationship. The First Commandment is "'You shall have no other gods before Me'" (Ex 20:3) in the context of God "'showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments'" (:6). Jesus taught, "'If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love'" (Jn 15:10). "'This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you'" (:12). John reiterates, "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God" (1Jn 4:7).

The initial chapters of First John emphasize this as John used the words write/written ten times. "'Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that reads it" (Hab 2:2). He states, "I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard" (1Jn 2:7). The church is "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets" (Eph 2:20). Therefore the word is what the apostles taught having received the teaching from Jesus at the implementing of his ministry. "This is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another" (1Jn 3:11). It "is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning" (2Jn 6). Of course it occurred at the beginning of Christ's ministry, but furthermore, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). "He was in the beginning with God" (:2) and "all things came into being through Him" (:3). These commands came to the apostles during their discipleship, but being Israelites, by extension they originate in the beginning of the Old Testament. "'You shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord. You are to keep my statutes'" (Lev 19:18-19). "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might'" (Dt 6:5).

Know the Truth

Everything John was writing in First John was "concerning those who are trying to deceive you" (1Jn 2:26). Someone from a different religion I knew often tried to persuade me with his doctrine. One day in his frustration he commented that their studies had shown that after X number of times a person would give in. But it wasn't true in my case because "the anointing which you received from Him abides in you" (:27). This is "the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it" (Mt 13:23). Why was John concerned about their being deceived? There is he who "has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away" (:21). Does your quality of character determine your propensity to believe "because they had no depth of soil" (:5)? Jesus told the church at Philadelphia, "'You have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name'" (Rev 3:8). However, at Sardis he said, "'You have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Wake up and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die'" (:1-2). "The sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away" (Mt 13:6). He told them, "'You have kept the word of My perseverance'" (Rev 3:10) and to "hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown'" (:11). "The one who endures to the end, he will be saved" (Mk 13:13).

How do you "endure to the end" (:13) when there are "the worries of the world" (4:19) to contend with and "other things enter in and choke the word" (:19)? There are "the ones who are beside the road . . . [where] Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them" (:15). Do you keep the word refreshed by "meaningless repetition" (Mt 6:7)? A better way is to be of "the ones whom seed was sown on the good soil and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit" (Mk 4:20). John encouraged them saying "I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth" (1Jn 2:21). "The anointing which you received from Him abides in you . . . [and] teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie" (:27). "His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God" (3:9) since "the Spirit is the truth" (5:6). John taught to love "in deed and truth . . . [and] we will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him" (3:18-19). "God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness" (1:5). If we "walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth" (:6). "The true Light is already shining" (2:8). "This is the true God and eternal life" (5:20) and he "has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true" (:20). "You know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him" (2:29) and "the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous" (3:7). "By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments" (2:3) and "whoever keeps His word, in Him the love of God has truly been perfected" (:5). Therefore "if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light" (1:7) "our heart does not condemn us, [and] we have confidence before God" (3:21).

God's Calling

Peter advised "always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you" (1Pe 3:15). That could lead to your asking yourself why you believe. There's a rationale to this since Paul advised, "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith, examine yourselves!" (2 Co 13:5). There's the saying, "Do as I say, not as I do." "Faith, if it has no works is dead, being by itself" (Ja 2:17). In the case of Sardis, Jesus observed, "'I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead'" (Rev 3:1). He said, "'I have not found your deeds completed'" (:2). They didn't have the dedication to fulfill what they had started because of their attitude and their endeavors were unfinished and incomplete. Paul told them to "work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure" (Php 2:12-13). It is "not according to our works, but according to His own purpose" (2Ti 1:9).

God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1Ti 2:4). "God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him" (Jn 3:17). He "gave Himself a ransom for all" (1Ti 2:6). It was "in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus" (Eph 3:11). You were "called according to His purpose" (Ro 8:28) and "called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing" (1Pe 3:9). "You were called into fellowship with His Son" (1Co 1:9). It was so "you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness" (1Pe 2:9). "A death has taken place for the redemption . . . [so that] those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance" (Heb 9:15).

It is "Him who calls you" (Gal 5:8) "who called you by the grace of Christ" (1:6). It was "grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity" (2Ti 1:9). Peter cited it was "'this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God'" (Ac 2:23). "He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you" (1Pe 1:20). "It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1Th 2:14). God formulated the whole plan from the beginning. We "have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose" (Eph 1:11). God's plan predetermined that "all men [were] to be saved" (1Ti 2:4) and "that the world might be saved" (Jn 3:17). Paul concluded that it was "God, who had set me apart from my mother's womb and called me through His grace" (Gal 1:15). Paul was God's "prisoner" (2Ti 1:8) and "the gifts and calling are irrevocable" (Ro 11:29).

Called and Chosen

Many people consider the call they received as having heard the gospel message and accordingly responded positively. It is as if at a certain time God chose them. However, "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world" (Eph 1:4). "God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation" (2Th 2:13). "Those whom He foreknew, He also predestined" (Ro 8:29). You "are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God, the Father" (1Pe 1:1). Calvinists believe that you can only be saved if God chooses you and makes it possible. "In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself" (Eph 1:5). Furthermore, "these whom He predestined, He also called" (Ro 9:23). We were "prepared beforehand, even us, whom He also called" (:24).

We are chosen "through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth" (2Th 2:13) "by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled by His blood" (1Pe 1:2). It is so "that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, [that he] suffered outside the gate" (Heb 13:12). Consequently we are "called as saints" (Ro 1:7) and separated as sacred and holy. We are made holy and set apart as we "sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts" (1Pe 3:15) and consecrate ourselves. It is so "that we should be holy and blameless before Him" (Eph 1:4). He has "called us with a holy calling" (2Ti 1:9).

Paul came to the Corinthians "proclaiming to you the testimony of God" (1Co 2:1). There is "the testimony of our Lord" (2Ti 1:8) "concerning Christ" (1Co 1:6) which was "given at the proper time" (1Ti 2:6). Then there was Paul's testimony (2Ti 1:8) though "not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power" (1Co 2:4). There was also John "who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev 1:2) It contains "the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory" (1Co 2:7). It is composed of words "taught by the Spirit" (:13) as "God revealed them through the Spirit" (:10). "Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ" (Ro 10:17). Paul cites that "our testimony to you was believed" (2Th 1:10). It was "confirmed in you" (1Co 1:6) and God "will also confirm you to the end" (:8). Peter said, "'We have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God'" (Jn 6:69). There is "the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe" (Ro 3:22). But in Jesus' parable the king "'saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes'" (Mt 22:11). However, "He has clothed me with garments of salvation" (Ps 61:10) and "her priests also I will clothe with salvation" (132:16). The king told them to "'throw him into outer darkness'" (Mt 22:13) which explains that "many are called, but few are chosen'" (:14). The wedding guest had decided not to dress properly. "Those who disbelieve" (1Pe 2:7) "stumble because they are disobedient to the word" (:8). Just as "for you who believe" (:7) God "predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son" (Ro 8:29) "those who disbelieve" (1Pe 2:7) "to this doom they were also appointed" (:8).