Conditions Before the Fall

Conditions Before The Fall

Chapter One

Conditions Before The Fall

AGONY TO ECSTASY!

PART ONE

What is Man? Is man an "angel" or an "ape", a "wonder", or a "worm"? Man is neither an "angel" nor an "ape", neither a "worm" nor a "wonder". Man is a creature made in the image of God, the "crown of God's creation", the "object of God's special love". This God-breathed creature was made for greatness but he has lost his greatness! Whatever else can be said of man, this can be said with certainty: "What man is now, he was not intended to be at the time he was created!" Man has lost his greatness! Man was created to fellowship with God forever – to enjoy uninterrupted peace, unalloyed joy and intimate love! Man was created by God and for God! But man was also created with a free will! We humans are not robots! As Suzanne de Dietrich so clearly states, "The thing that makes us uniquely human is that, unlike the other creatures; we are able to say 'yes' and 'no' to God. Man does not do the will of his Creator by necessity. The stars in the sky follow their prescribed orbits, the animals of the field obey their instincts, but man has this unique and frightening ability – he can refuse to be obedient to his Creator. For God does not want slaves, but sons". (God's Unfolding Purpose; page 36)

Man's freedom of choice allows man to ascend to the highest heights of moral development or to descend to the lowest depths of moral degeneracy. It is both frightening and fantastic to be a creature of freedom!

Genesis 1-3 are three of the most important chapters in the entire Bible. Perhaps the word "relationships" best describe these chapters.

God's relationship with Himself (the doctrine of the triune God is first introduced here – "Let us make man in our own image");

God's relationship with created nature ("God saw all that he had made, and it was very good");

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God's relationship with the seventh day ("And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done");

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God's relationship with Man, the "crown of His creation" ("So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them");

Man's relationship to work ("The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it" ) ;

Man's relationship to woman ("The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh'");

The serpent's relationship to the Woman ("Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?");

Woman's relationship to the Man ("She also gave some of the fruit to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it");

Couple's relationship to Sin ("Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves");

Guilty couple's relationship to God ("Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden");

God's relationship to guilty Man ("So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken".

Within the brief compass of three short chapters, we are introduced to some of the most basic and important facts of life:

  1. Man's unique creation,

  2. Man's intimate fellowship with God,

  3. Man's innocent relationship with woman,

  4. The sanctity of marriage,

  5. The fact of objective moral law,

  6. The nature of temptation,

  7. The tragedy of sin,

  8. The mercy of God.

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PROPOSITION:

Man was created for greatness – to fellowship with Almighty God. Man lost his greatness – through disobedience against God's clearly-stated law. Man can regain his greatness – through Christ, the 'second Adam', whose work on the cross crushed the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15).

THE AGONY WHICH SIN BRINGS TO MAN CAN BE REPLACED WITH ECSTASY WHICH CHRIST BRINGS TO MAN.

I. CONDITIONS BEFORE THE FALL

We can only imagine what it was like in the beautiful Garden of Eden, before the terrible fall of Man. Perfect health, exquisite beauty, undisturbed peace, unalloyed joy – perhaps these descriptions imperfectly picture the glory of Eden.

A. Lucifer's Fall

However, while all appears to be perfect in Eden, there is the presence of one in Eden whose purposes are far from righteous. Genesis 3:1 introduces this evil personality. "Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, 'Did God really say, "You must not eat from any tree in the garden"?'"

From whence came this tempter, in the form of a serpent? The Bible does not fill in all the details as to his origin. Neither does the Bible tell us why the serpent was permitted in the Garden. We can only speculate, but the following explanation is at least interesting to consider. Some think that when this world was created and fit for habitation Satan (before he became "Satan") was placed in charge of it, and it was then, as Isaiah declared, that Satan said in his heart – "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the 'Stars of God' (other ruling powers); I will sit also upon the Mount of the Congregation, in the sides of the North. I will ascend above the clouds; I will be like the MOST HIGH:" and that it was for this presumptuous

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act that the "Pre-Adamite World" became a chaos, and "without form and void", as described in Genesis 1:2. This would justify the claim of Satan that this world belongs to him, and that he had the right and power to transfer the 'kingdoms of the world' to Christ, if He would only acknowledge Satan's supremacy. Matt. 4:8, Matthew 4:9. And it accounts for the persistent war Satan is waging against the Almighty to retain his possession of the earth.

"When Satan became unwilling to rule the Original earth as a subordinate, and determined to rule it independent of God, he put his own will in opposition to the Will of God. That was "Treason". That was SIN. There was the origin of sin. In thus exalting himself against God 'Lucifer' became 'SATAN' for 'Satan' means 'ADVERSARY'. To justify himself he accused God. In accusing God he became the 'DEVIL' for 'Devil' signifies 'Accuser'. Thus 'Lucifer' became both 'Satan' and 'Devil'. This answers the question – 'Why did God make the Devil?' He did not make him, he made himself." (The Spirit World; Larkin; page 11, 12)

Larkin continues, "As long as Satan chose the 'Will of God' there was no 'Evil' in the universe, but the moment he chose to follow his own will, then he fell, and by persuading others to follow him he introduced 'Evil' into the Universe. The root of sin is SELFISHNESS, and when Satan said – 'I will ascend into Heaven (from the original earth over which he was ruling), I will exalt MY THRONE above the 'Stars of God' (other ruling powers)…. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I WILL BE LIKE THE MOST HIGH' (Isaiah 14:12-14), then Satan was guilty of TREASON, and started a REBELLION AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD that will never cease until he and all his followers are cast into the 'Lake of Fire' to spend Eternity". (Ibid; page 14)

B. God's Created Order

The above-mentioned ideas are only speculations. We cannot be dogmatic in our ideas regarding the origin of evil or regarding the rationale for the presence

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of Satan in the Garden of Eden. It is possible that Genesis 1:1 refers to the originally created earth, whereas Genesis 1:2 refers to the devastation of the earth as a result of Lucifer's rebellion against God. A 'formless' and 'empty' and 'darkened' world hardly meets the description of God's glorious creative powers. The Creator God is a God of order and fullness and lights – not disorder and emptiness and darkness! It is possible, then that Genesis 1:1 refers to the Original (Perfect) Earth, that Genesis 1:2 refers to the Chaotic (Fallen) Earth, and that Genesis 1:3-25 describes the Present (Restored) Earth.

E. Stanley Jones convincingly argues for the existence of God. A universal order argues for a universal Mind. "How could this universe come by chance into a cosmic orderliness that stretches from the molecule to the outermost star, and controls everything between? And how could this orderliness just happen to stay by chance through millions of years? That would be a stark materialistic miracle universal chaos by chance gives birth to universal order! The one who believes that must spell his 'chance with a capital 'C' and mean by it – God. How long do you think it would take for you to throw up a font of type into the air and have it come down by chance into a poem of Browning? I asked a printer that question and he replied, 'Both you and the type would wear out first'.

"Someone has figured out how many chances to one it would take for the world to have happened by chance, and the figures go round the world 35 times. 'A preposterous figure', says Dr. Millikari, the scientist. Sir James Jeans had figured out that it would take a hundred million years for a hundred thousand monkeys, pecking at random a hundred thousand typewriters, to happen by chance upon the plays of Shakespeare, and then, after they had happened upon the arrangement of the letters, they wouldn't know what the letters meant!"

"When I pick up a book and see that there is intelligence in it – that sometimes does happen!

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then I know that behind that intelligence is an intelligent mind expressing itself through that intelligence. When I look at the universe, I find that its responses to intelligence can be intelligently studied. Intelligence has gone into it – into its very structure. Then the simple conclusion must be that behind that intelligence, which is built into the structure of things, is an intelligent mind, and since that built-in intelligence seems to be universal, I will have to spell it in capitals – a UNIVERSAL MIND." (Abundant Living; page 5)

"The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvelous display of his craftsmanship. Day and night they keep on telling about God. Without sound or word, silent in the skies, their message reaches out to all the world." (Psalms 19:1-3, Living Bible)

When Genesis uses the word 'Day' in reference to God's creation, does it literally mean 24 hour days as we know them or does it symbolically represent eras of time? This is a question which has been unfruitfully debated for a long time. The important thing is not how or how long God actually took to create and to organize, but the important thing to realize is that God actually is the Creator of all things. The orderly universe is not an accident or chance happening. It is the intelligent handiwork of God. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork." (Psalms 19:1) It is much more difficult to believe that the orderly universe is the product of accident and chance, than it is to believe that the orderly universe is the amazing product of an intelligent and personal God.

It is interesting to note that Scripture teaches us that Jesus (the second person of the Holy Trinity) is the creative power of God. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is implicitly taught in Genesis 1:26, as seen in the use of the plural pronoun "US". "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in Our likeness, and let them rule, etc." As the

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second person of the Holy Trinity, Jesus was involved in the creation of the universe: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him ill things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." (John 1:1-3) Paul wrote, regarding Jesus: "Christ is the exact likeness and, in fact, Christ Himself is the Creator who made everything in heaven and earth, the things we can see and the things we can't …. (Col. 1:15-16 a Living Bible). The writer to the Hebrews declares the same truth: "Now in these days He (God) has spoken to us through His Son to whom He has given everything, and through whom He made the world and everything there is." (Hebrews 1:2, Living Bible)

It is true that no man can prove the existence of God, but it is also true that no man can disprove the existence of God. God's existence is a basic assumption in the Bible. The Bible says, "The fool hath said in his heart 'There is no god." It is by faith that we assume the existence of God, and it is also by faith that we declare that this world is the product of God's creative powers and genius. Notes the author of the letter to the Hebrews: "By faith – by believing God – we know that the world and the stars – in fact, all things – were made at God's command; and that they were made from nothing!" (Hebrews 11:3, Living Bible)

C. God's Creation of Woman

The creation of Adam in God's own image was the 'crown of God's creation'. As God is a Trinity, so man too is a trinity, that is, man is a tri-unity. Man has a body, a mind, and a spirit. Man is 'three in one' – a tri-unity, just as a spirit. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – a tri-unity (trinity).

Why was Eve created? Genesis 2:20b-24 (Genesis 2:20-24) states: "But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the

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Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones flesh of my flesh, she shall be called "woman", she was taken out of man'. For this reason a man will leave his father and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh."

What can be said about woman's creation?

(1) Woman was created as an "equal" to man. She is neither inferior nor superior to man, but is his equal. Equality is symbolized by the fact that she was created from one of the "ribs" of Adam. A rib is close to the heart of Adam. She was not created from a foot bone which would symbolize inferiority. Neither was she created from a shoulder or head bone which would symbolize superiority. The equality of woman with man is especially emphasized in the New Testament. Wrote Paul to the Galatians: "We are no longer Jews or Greeks or slaves or free men or even merely men or women, but we are all the same we are Christians; we are one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28, Living Bible)

(2) Woman was created as a "suitable helper" for man. Notes Charles Swindall, "On four distinct occasions He passed His approval of His creation.

... God saw that it was good ( 1 : 12) 
... God saw that it was good ( 1 : 18) 
... God saw that it was good ( 1 : 21) 
... God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good (1:31)

But what do you notice about God's statement regarding Adam in Genesis 2:18? God's statement …. it is not good….

This is the first time in all the Bible that God says 'something is NOT good. What is not good? God declares it isn't good for man to be alone. This isn't just a passing comment. In the original Hebrew, the language in which the Old Testament

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was written, the negative is most emphatic, therefore, it appears first in the phrase. Literally it says, 'Not good, is man's aloneness…' God, the Creator, saw man, His creature, in an isolated, alone-condition. He announced that Adam's solitary state was not good. God cared about Adam's 'aloneness'." (Strike The Original Match; page 17, 18)

Most men are not complete without a companion – a loving wife. This is not to say that singlehood is a curse, for God is able to compensate for those who are single. Many a single or widowed person has found the companionship of God to be more precious to them than the companionship of a human companion, during their moments of loneliness.

In saying that woman was created to be a "suitable helper" for man, no feminine inferiority is implied. It is true that a woman is to be in loving submission to her husband, for the husband has been given the awesome responsibility of leader and head of his home. The 'head-ship' of the man does not imply superiority and the 'submission' of the wife does not imply inferiority. There is equality between male and female, but there is divinely-created order for the home. Husbands are lovingly to lead, wives are gladly to submit, and children are willingly to obey their parents. Ephesians clearly states these truths: "A man must love his wife as a part of himself; and the wife must see to it that she deeply respects her husband obeying, praising, and honoring him. Children, obey your parents; this is the right thing to do because God has placed him in authority over you." (Ephesians 5:33-6:1, Living Bible)

(3) Woman was created for the fellowship of love and to demonstrate the meaning of the I-Thou relationship between God and Man. Notes Suzanne de Dietrich, "God is, in his very nature, the one who gives himself. Thus a solitary individual cannot really reflect the God of

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love. Only a human couple, in the kind of unity that the family represents, can reflect something of what God is really like. Nothing could emphasize more clearly how wonderful it is to be a human being than the favor that God confers on man and woman, of being able to give themselves fully to each other, as he gave himself to them, and of being able, by means of this mutual giving, to create new life. Later on we find Paul taking up the same theme: 'Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her' (Ephesians 5:25)". (God's Unfolding Purpose; page 35) "The Christian reader will be struck by the fact that it is the man-woman community which is to reflect God. God does not create man in isolation. He creates him as a community, as man and woman. The Trinitarian God is a fellowship of love and can only be reflected on the human plane in a loving relationship. Only a human 'we' can reflect something of the divine 'us' … The man-woman relationship is the first nucleus of the wider community which is to be called into being. The I-Thou relationship between God and man is to be reflected in the I-Thou relationship of man and woman." (Suzanne de Dietrich; The Witnessing Community; page 22,23)

D. God's Assigned Task To Adam (Blessedness of Work)

Genesis 2:15 states: "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." Work itself is not a curse from the fall; it is the agony and the stress associated with work which is a curse. God created a 'good world' but not a "completed world". God willed to create a world in which man would have the opportunity to manifest creative abilities. From the raw products of the world, man is to create! Man and woman are to be co-creators with God in bringing children into the world. Man is to create a beautiful garden. by laboring. Man is to create cities and to create nations. Man is a co-creator with God!

It is true, according to Genesis 3:17-19, that the ground was cursed after Adam disobeyed God.

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Therefore, work is more difficult now than it was before the Fall. As one man notes, "In Eden, Adam tilled and tended the garden as the Lord had instructed him because he wanted to; although he perspired and needed rest, necessity and desire were one thing to him. In exile Adam worked because he had to. He toiled as before, but the joy had gone out of it, and only necessity was left." (Christianity Today; Aug. 27, 1971; page 7)

"However, even now after the Fall of Man, work can be transmuted from a mere necessity for earning a living into an opportunity for realizing personal self-hood and personal fulfillment. Through the redeeming grace of Christ, man can come to see work as a means of making and fulfilling himself, and not merely as a means of earning a livelihood. God created a world filled with raw products which man is creatively to work on, and through working on them, to make himself. "The highest reward that a man can receive for doing his best …. is not what he gets for his work, but what he becomes by it." (Sermon Builder; Sept. 1971; page 23)

What is the Biblical understanding of "work"?

  • Work was a blessing given to Adam, long before he fell into sin. He was to dress and tend to the Garden of Eden. He was to prepare his own food from the trees of the garden (Genesis 1:29-30);
  • Work became more difficult following the "Fall", since consequence of the Fall was thorns and thistles (Genesis 3:17-19);
  • Work now provides opportunity for one to perfect his own character and to glorify God.

If work is basically a good thing (in spite of the fact that work is often fraught with difficulty because of the "Fall"), how then should a Christian youth choose his life's work? Notes Elton Trueblood, "The world is one, secular and sacred, and the chief way to serve the Lord is in our daily work."

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A person should look at work as an opportunity to perfect his own character, that is, work should result in one becoming a more disciplined person – a disciple of Jesus Christ. Notes one, "There is no salvation from work; there is only salvation in work work, that is, caught up in discipleship." (Christianity Today; Aug. 27, 1971; page 8)

The work we do must contribute to God and to man and to the world, and not take away from any of these relationships.

A Christian youth, in choosing a job, must choose that type of work which will best benefit others and which will best glorify God. Rather than being self-centered, a youth must be God-centered and others-oriented when he decides what, professionally-speaking, he will do with his life. That Is, a youth must see his job as a vocation or as a "holy calling" from God. Notes Elton Trueblood, "The concept of vocation changes radically and crucially the way in which a young person approaches his life work or preparation for it. Apart from this concept his major questions often have to do with probable income, personal advancement, manner of living and choice of location. There is no doubt that many now choose their work with these specific considerations uppermost in their minds, for it is the 'natural' way. However, one who chooses in the light of vocation has a wholly different standard. His central interest is not in money or professional advancement, but in how he can make the best strokes to help clean up the mess of the world before it is too late. His motto is, 'Work while it is day, for the night cometh when no man can work.' The young person 'who has caught the vision implicit in the idea of vocation looks out at the world and tries to see how its need can be matched by his own latent powers. This, as millions know, is the way in which Albert Schweitzer determined to study medicine after he had already proved himself successful in another profession. The man who lives by the principle of vocation has substituted concern for advancement." (Common Ventures; page 88, 89)

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Trueblood continues, "Our happiest moments are not those in which we ask how to be happy, but rather those in which we so lose ourselves in some creative task, which seems to us important, that we forget to take our own emotional pulse. When we plant trees, write books, build houses or make roads, we often find that we have been having a wonderfully good time and that we are not immediately driven to do something to have' fun'. We had had, all along, something better than anything which commercialized and self-conscious entertainment can ever provide." (Ibid; page 93)

"The worldly-minded man says that leisure is man's true end, and so he builds one labor-saving device after another, shortens the workweek, lengthens the pay and vacations, and waits for the day when machines will do all the work." {Christianity Today; August 27, 1971; page 7} And yet, with increase in leisure and commercial entertainment, there is an increase in boredom, which is another way of saying that life does not consist in the abundance of "leisure and entertainment a man can consume, but rather in the amount he can give to his fellowman by means of the creative labors of his hands. Happiness comes not by grasping but rather by giving. Man is built to work, not to be idle.

Scriptures look upon the idle man with scorn:

"Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise." (Proverbs 6:6)
	"A son who gathers in summer is prudent, but a son who sleeps in harvest 
	brings shame." (Proverbs 10:5)

Note 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 Living Bible.

In spite of the fact that, since the Fall, the ground has produced thorns and thistles and, in spite of the fact, that man must work by the sweat of his brow (Genesis 3:18-19), work is meant to be seen as a blessing from God and as an opportunity for man.

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CHAPTER 1

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Tell why you agree or disagree with the following statement: "Whatever else can be said of man, this can be said with certainty: What man is now, he was not intended to be at the time he was created!"

  2. What is the most frightening capacity with which Man was created?

  3. Name several of the "Key Relationships" which are revealed in the first three chapters of Genesis.

  4. Based on speculation, what feasible explanation can be offered to explain the reason for Satan's presence in the Garden of Eden at the time of Man's creation?

  5. From a logical viewpoint, what evidence is there that this Universe is the result of creative genius, not the product of accident or chance?

  6. Cite Scriptural references that indicate that the second Person of the Trinity i.e., Jesus Christ – was involved as creator of the world.

  7. From a careful study of Genesis, chapter 2, what three statements can be made regarding Woman's creation?

  8. Is there evidence from Scripture (Genesis 2:1-25) to indicate that "Work" was not a result of the Fall of Man, but that "Work" was a part of God's original plan when He created Man?

  9. Tell why you agree or disagree with the following statement: "Even though joy had gone out of Work, following the Fall of Man, even now after the Fall of Man, work can be transmuted from a mere

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    necessity for earning a living into an opportunity for realizing personal selfhood and personal fulfillment."

  10. What factors should a Christian youth consider (in contrast to those factors that a non-Christian youth considers) in choosing a job or a profession in life? Why?

  11. Tell why you agree or disagree with the following statement: "Our happiest moments are not those in which we ask to be happy, but rather those in which we so lose ourselves in some creative task, which seems to us important, that we forget to take our own emotional pulse."

  12. Tell why you agree or disagree with the following statement: "Life does not consist in the abundance of leisure and entertainment a man can consume, but rather in the amount he can give to his fellowman by means of the creative labor of his hands.

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Visualize the High Calling

Visualize The ‘High Calling’

Chapter One

Visualize The 'High Calling'
Appreciating The Wonderful Person The Spirit 8 Knowing When Not Enough Is Not Enough 18
Whatever Happened To Holiness? 10 Paul's Secret Weapon 20
Holy – A Beautiful Word 12 Discussion Questions 22
Are We Called To Be Saints? Are We Called To Be Holy? 14 Discussion Questions (Continued) 23
Who's The Pilot? 16 Discussion Questions (Continued) 24

John 14:13-27

Appreciating The Wonderful Person The Spirit

Soft music filtered through the car speakers as the radio announcer quoted a familiar Bible verse. My mood was not necessarily contemplative; however, there was a sudden change in my heart as I carefully considered the meaning of the verse I just heard. Actually, I considered only two words form the text. The deep bass voice echoed the prayer of David as he asked God to "take not thy Holy Spirit from me". (Psalm 51:11) My thoughts fell immediately on the name, "Holy Spirit."

A preacher, I have use this name thousands of times. Each time, I have spoken that name in the same manner as this radio announcer: "Holy Spirit." "Holy" in His first name, and "Spirit" is His last name. The two words of His name are spoken with equal emphasis. The name rolls off the tongue so smoothly that it actually sounds like one word. We often say that name as we do any other name, with little inflection and even less reflection.

Is that any way to speak the name of the third Person of the triune God? God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Although the Bible does not use the word "Trinity," we know God is all three and at the same time, One. In Genesis we learn that when God created humans, He said, "Let us make man in our image." When Moses asked God to authenticate who He was, God answered, "I Am" is written in plural form, meaning "We Are: furthermore, when Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit was seen coming down from heaven "like a dove," and God spoke, "This is my son," placing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in one place at one time.

It occurred to me that I had never contemplated the fact that "holy" is not the Spirit's first name. "Holy" describes who and what the Spirit is! He is "HOLY." Immediately, as I called the Spirit's name, emphasizing the title "Holy," tears began to flow from my humbled heart. I knew I was in the presence of Him who is Holy and I felt shame and guilt from never recognizing that before. At the same time, I felt totally and guilt from never recognizing that before. At the same time, I felt totally and unconditionally loved by the Holy One. In that instant God allowed me to experience his holiness in the Person of the Spirit. I do not think I can speak the name "Holy Spirit" ever again without recognizing my inadequacy and His sufficiency. God is holy!

"I long for Your Holy Spirit, Father … to fill me with all Your holiness. In Your holy presence, I am at peace even though I am unworthy. Holy God, dwell within me so I may grow in Your love. In Jesus' name. Amen."

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AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: "I am the Lord who makes you holy." (Exodus 31:13)

-Thomas Duckworth-

NOTES:

Type notes into your program such as Word, Notepad, TextEdit, etc.

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1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

Whatever Happened To Holiness?

I was driving to a cemetery just a way out of town when I spotted an old, faded street sign. I did a double-take at what I thought I saw. Some of the letters were missing and, not wanting to be mistaken. I drove more slowly on my way back to read that sign more accurately. When I got back to my office, I consulted a city map to verify this -new bit of information. Sure enough, there it was, right in our town … HOLINESS LANE.

Later in the week I returned to that old faded sign and took a ride down HOLINESS LANE. It was narrow. That was as it should be. Yet something had gone wrong. It seemed to me that the environment of the street bore little resemblance to its name. It was trashy and unkept. There were broken-down cars, old worn-out tires, and unmanicured lawns along HOLINESS LANE. The people who sat on their porches and wondered about the stranger driving down their street did not have any joy in their faces. HOLINESS LANE was a dead-end street.

I wondered about the history of HOLINESS LANE. How did it get its name? Was there once a vibrant Church on that street? Had there been a great revival at some point in its history? Did some saintly person or group of saintly people once live there? Why would anyone name a street HOLINESS LANE?

I gathered that the people who now live on HOLINESS LANE, never think about the name of their street. Old Testament its history, or the significance of their address, much less feel any obligation to live up to the standard of the name.

Whatever happened to HOLINESS LANE?

Whatever happened to HOLINESS?

Several years ago U.S. News and World Report conducted a poll on religion in America. The poll painted a picture of a nation as religious as ever but uncertain how to "Walk the Walk" in a pluralistic and secular society. Paul desired that no such uncertainty should be in the minds of the Thessalonians. Their walk was to be holy: their address was to be on HOLINESS LANE.

"Heavenly Father, help me to realize that my search for happiness is but a longing for HOLINESS."

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AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Every disciple of Christ is called to live on HOLINESS LANE.

-William Jenkins-

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Leviticus 19:2, Leviticus 20:26

Holy – A Beautiful Word

The Christian's vocabulary is rich with beautiful words, and among them is the word "Holy." The bent toward the sinful nature, sin with all the accompanying adjectives, low views of God – attempt to crowd the word "Holy" into a corner. It is too idealistic, even archaic in this scientific era.

But the word still stands in God's Word. The basic theme of an Old Testament book concerned with laws and ceremonies is "Holy" and its equivalents. In the 27 chapters of Leviticus the word "holy" is used 81 times; "without blemish" – 31; "hallowed" – once; and "sanctify" – seven. Offering, persons, places, things, animals, vestments of the priests, fruit, tithe, fields, and the year of Jubilee were to be Holy. A casual reading is conclusive: God is Holy; the standard for His people is "Holiness."

"I am Holy," says God. What does He mean? A.W. Tozer says: "God's holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered. We know nothing like the divine holiness. It stands apart, unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible, and unattainable." (The Knowledge of the Holy, p. 111)

Dr. Shelby Corlett says that "it is the sum total of all His moral characteristics." Quoting again A.W. Tozer: "Holy is the way God is. He is absolutely holy with an infinite, incomprehensible fullness of purity that is incapable of being other than it is. Because He is holy, all His attributes are holy, i.e., whatever we think of as belonging to God must be thought of as Holy."

"You shall be holy, for I am holy," says Peter in his epistle (1 Peter 1:16). What is holiness in man? Corlett writes: "In a sense holiness in man is the same as holiness in God for there are not two kinds of holiness. The quality of this holiness is the same, in quality there is a vast difference. Holiness in God is absolute. Holiness in man is relative. Holiness in God is infinite. Holiness in man is finite. But in each case holiness is real, it is one kind of holiness."

Charles Wesley wrote:

He wills that I should be holy be, 
That holiness I long to feel;
That full divine conformity
To all my Saviour's righteous will." 

What should my response be to God who is holy?

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  1. I shall want to be holy. "You shall be holy; for the Lord your God am holy". (Leviticus 19:21)

  2. I shall live a separated life. Not as a religious hermit apart from society, but separated from the world in my actions and attitudes. "You shall be holy to me for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine." (Leviticus 20:26)

  3. I will be obedient to God. "So you shall keep my commandments and do them… I am the Lord who sanctify you." (Leviticus 22:31-32)

Oh, how beautiful is the word "holy".

"Dear God, cleanse my heart, my entire being so that I may be holy. Amen."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Even though I live in a sinful world, by the grace of God I can be holy and live such a life.

– Floyd Cooper –

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Leviticus 11:44, 1 Peter 1:16

Are We Called To Be Saints? Are We Called To Be Holy?

Some believe that Sainthood can only be achieved after death. As I read the New Testament, I discover that the Apostle Paul refers to the believers as "Saints" in the book of Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. I doubt that Paul was writing such inspired letters to the deceased. I do believe that sainthood is achieved during one's "Lifetime." I am also aware of the belief that "The Christian" cannot live a holy life here on earth. I must take issue with this teaching. Why would God command His children to be Holy, if being Holy is not attainable?

Follow closely as I attempt to answer the title's question. In Ephesians Chapter 1, verse 1, Paul writes to the Saints and in verse 4, Paul uses the word Holy. He is actually referring to the Holy people of God.

This brings me to believe another biblical truth. Now, right here in this sinful world, we can live holy lives, if we are filled with the Holy Spirit. This does not infer that we will be perfect human beings, only that, with the aid of God's Holy Spirit, we can strive to live the life of Holiness. I am aware that man has tried to make rules of Do's and Don'ts that will make us Holy. An evil person can keep rules and not be holy. This lifestyle comes only through the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. From the Greek dictionary I will share a portion of the definition of the word holy. When the word holy refers to mankind, it means that they have "Christ" as the ground of their life. The dictionary also declares that 'saints' refers to "God's holy ones." In another Bible dictionary, I read the idea of holiness is in both the Old and New Testaments. It is basically achieved by consecration to God. To live a holy life, requires our total surrender to Godhead: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Are we called to be holy': Are we called to saints" YES TO BOTH QUESTIONS. I strongly believe that where God guides, God supplies. I also believe that when God gives a command to His children, He not only acts as the Order Giver, but also acts as the Divine Enabler. Since we are commanded by God to be holy, then through His Holy Spirit we can be Holy.

"Dear Father in heaven, I stand before You this day, asking for the Infilling of Your Holy Spirit. It is my sincere desire to be Holy as You are Holy. Amen."

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AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I will seek the mind of Jesus. I will pray to be holy as He is Holy. I will strive to live in such a way that others will know I've been with Jesus.

– Lowell Weller –

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Romans 8:1-8

Who's The Pilot?

When I was serving as a missionary in Alaska, the man who lived directly behind me ran an air Taxi service. He owned three airplanes. Since the only mode of transportation into our village was either by boat or air, he ran an excellent business. My work called for a great deal of travel. It therefore was my privilege to fly with this man on a regular basis.

I will never forget the day when he flew in a new Cessna 185. It was a beautiful airplane. Just shortly after he purchased his new plane, it was necessary for me to take a trip. It just happened to be this new plane.

When I climbed into the front passenger seat, I was delightedly surprised to discover that there were dual controls. As we took off into the clear blue sky with the beautiful green tundra of Alaska on the one side and the vast Bering sea on the other, it was an exhilarating experience. And then, he said to me, "would you like to fly it?"

What a thrill to take those controls and to sense the magnificent control of that plane which I held in my hands. With the pull, push or turn of that yoke I could make that plane respond to my direction. It was absolutely exhilarating!

Not many weeks passed until I had the need to fly again. However, this time, when I got into the plane, the dual controls were no longer there. I immediately inquired why the owner had removed them. His answer was very revealing.

"Well, when everything is going smoothly and normally it was great to have those controls. However, as you know, we often get into turbulent weather and frequently have to land on short runways and less than ideal airstrips. Also, the weather is often severe. The problem was that when my passengers sensed any kind of danger or turbulence, they had a tendency to grab the control. I had no choice – the dual controls had to be removed!"

What a picture of our lives! We too want Jesus Christ to be our Pilot, but so often when we face trials, turbulence, or perceived danger, we want to grab the controls of our lives. Consequently, the Lord (our Pilot) is not in control, but we are! The result is often disastrous.

Paul says in this Scripture that the law of sin and death which reigns in our lives and that has a dual control over us, must be removed! It is removed by the power of the Spirit of life provided by our Lord Jesus Christ. We don't have to struggle with the dual control of a sinful nature. Praise God, it can be removed so we can live in the freedom

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of the Spirit!

Who is really the Pilot in your life today? Is there the possibility that you have made Jesus Christ your Savior and have declared him as the Pilot of your life, but you are still struggling with dual controls? Is the power of the sinful nature often overpowering your commitment to Christ?

There's only one solution. Allow Jesus Christ to remove the dual control by cleansing your heart from the nature of sin. Make Christ the victorious single Pilot and Lord of your life. This is what He wants to do for you today. You can be victorious in Christ!

"Dear Lord, deliver me from every selfish control of my life and may I be singularly submissive to the control of Jesus Christ today."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: It is impossible to live a victorious Christian life as long as there are dual controls in our life. He can change that to a singular Holy control.

– Edward Rickman –

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John 14:25-31

Knowing When Not Enough Is Not Enough

I was far from my West Coast home teaching in a Southeast mountain school. Things were different for me there. I didn't talk quite the same way, my cultural reflexes were 'wrong', and I was considered a 'foreigner'.

The remarks and actions of some students and local fellows began to get under my skin. During the Church service one evening, some local fellows were setting off firecrackers outside the building. Later, as I followed the sidewalk along the creek toward my quarters, some fellows dropped in behind me. I turned to look, saw a red glow near my skirt and thought: "O no! It's a firecracker!" It was only a cigarette, but I had 'lost it'. I dropped my Bible on the sidewalk, turned and slapped the young man's face!

I picked up my Bible, and with a mild apology, I headed for home, surprised and ashamed at myself. ''What made me do that? I have not struck anyone since childhood. Don't I have any self-control? Can I continue to be a missionary teacher and act like this?" I thought.

These questions haunted me. I thought, I prayed, I read my Bible. I even went to the school principal and discussed resignation. He laughed, shook my hand and said, "my wife hit one of those guys with her umbrella!" Then I was really confused.

God began helping me by showing me some things. One was that I need the Holy Spirit to keep me from being merely all I naturally am. I learned I was a worrier, a resenter, someone who could lose her temper. That wasn't a comforting thought, except then I learned that God's Spirit could cleanse and control those things in my life. I only needed to ask Him to do that.

Another thing God taught me was that I need to be more flexible, adjusting to a new people and new ways. I need the Holy Spirit so I can be like Jesus, who loves and accepts people just as they are, that He is there for them to be changed and grow in Him too. That understanding is the 'bottom-line' for missionaries.

How much I need God's Holy Spirit to fill my life in all circumstances, at home or far away. God is willing to give us His Holy Spirit more than an earthly father gives good gifts to his children. (Matthew 7:11)

"Lord Jesus, I am so needy. I ask your Holy Spirit to fill me, control me, and make me like you".

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AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Today I receive You Holy Spirit, knowing You can change, control and empower me to serve You.

– Beth Stewart –

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Romans 8:26-28

Paul's Secret Weapon

Paul couldn't keep God's law. "I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out." (Romans 7:18) His failures may discourage us. After all, Paul was intelligent, highly educated, from an elite family. He had a forceful personality and had been in the faith a long time. He had great energy and self-control; knew the law and wanted to keep it; did everything he could to please God, but he couldn't do it? If anyone could do it, it would be Paul, but he couldn't. No one can.

So, God, being love, provided grace. Grace is a free gift from God that allows us to have a healthy life in a sick world. Grace is made possible through the work of Jesus Christ. Grace is delivered to us through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Paul asked, "Is there no one who can do anything for me."? (Romans 7:24) Yes, the Holy Spirit. Let us consider how the Holy Spirit delivers God grace.

The Holy Spirit nourishes us when life is dry and dusty. Been there? You have no appetite for God's food, you can't pray, you feel as though you are back to square one. That's what Paul described. Maybe you believe in your mind that God is in your life but you feel so alone that like Elijah you complain that you are the only person who still believes in God (1 Kings 19:1-18) Jesus said, "If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him' By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive." (John 7:37-39)

The Holy Spirit counsels and teaches us. Jesus explains: "The Counselor, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." (John 14:26)

The Holy Spirit helps us pray. "God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless signs, our aching groans. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good" (Romans 8:26-28) Thank you! Help me pray! The Holy Spirit empowers. In the last teaching Jesus gave, he said, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you": (Acts 1:8) Read further in Acts to learn how timid believers became bold, and for more promises of the Holy Spirit's empowerment, which is as available to us as it was to them.

The Holy Spirit guarantees that we win come through our valley of doubt, let go of our urges to rebel, and that when God chooses we will receive our inheritance along with Jesus. In Paul's words, "God makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed

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us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

"Heavenly Father, worthy of all praise and honor, thank you for giving me grace. I need so much help; you offer all I need. Thank you! Teach me to live so that I please you, and act in the pattern of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank you for the presence of your Spirit in and around me, and guide me so that the Spirit can work through me in the service of your kingdom. Amen."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: The Holy Spirit nourishes, counsels, teaches, empowers, and prays with me to guarantee that I will triumph today and forever.

– Richard Walters –

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Discussion Questions

  1. Share what your inner response is (in terms of thoughts and feelings) when you verbalize the name of the third person of the Godhead – "Holy Spirit." What can you say about the 'person' and the 'work' of the Holy Spirit?

  2. Since God has called His people (believers) to be "holy," how would you describe the 'life of holiness' (in terms of 'holy' thoughts, 'holy' actions and reactions, 'holy' lifestyle, 'holy' goals)? (Note: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12; Galatians 5:22; 1 Corinthians 13 ; Romans 12; 1 Peter 1:16)

  3. Tell what your inner response is to the following words (of longing), penned many years ago by Charles Wesley:

    "He wills that I should holy be, 
    That holiness I long to feel; 
    That full divine conformity 
    To all my Saviour's righteous will." 
  4. Put a check by the following statements which you believe properly reflect and describe a Biblical understanding of a "Holy Lifestyle":

    1. ___ A life of absolute perfection, free from all sin, free from all infirmities, free from theological error, free from all temptations.

    2. ___ A life which is merely 'idealized' by earnest persons but never 'realized' on the earth; a life which is finally achieved in heaven following physical death.

    3. ___ A life which God commands a person to live, and for which God provides divine resources amidst human weaknesses and temptations.

    4. ___ A life which is the result of a believer being filled with the Holy Spirit.

    5. ___ A life which is the result of a person's moral achievements, following many years of character cultivation and intellectual development.

    6. ___ A life which comes only through the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit.

    7. ___ A life which has Christ as the "ground of one's being" and as the "mentor for one's actions."

    8. ___ A life which is achieved as a result of a "once-for-all surrender" to Christ, followed by a "daily surrender" to the lordship of Christ.

    9. ___ A life which is characterized by a supreme love for God and a sincere love for all persons.

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      Discussion Questions (Continued)

    10. ___ A life which is characterized by single-minded devotion to Christ and wholehearted commitment to the mission of Christ (The Kingdom of God).

    11. ___ A life that is characterized by pure motives and humble attitudes and compassionate service.

    12. ___ A life that is both obtained and maintained by repentance, faith, surrender, and obedience.

    13. ___ A life characterized by intimate fellowship with God through prayer, daily confession of mistakes and sins, and submission to divine guidance.

  5. Tell to what degree you agree (or disagree) with the following statements: "So often when we face trails, turbulence, or perceived danger, we want to grab the controls of our lives. Consequently, the Lord (our Pilot) is not in control, but we are! The result is often disastrous." Can you think of any 'concrete example' (from your own life or from your observation of others) which illustrates the truth of these statements?

  6. Is it accurate to describe a "carnal believer" (before he is "filled with the Holy Spirit") as one who wishes to maintain "partial control" of his life (instead of allowing the Spirit to have sole or total control of his life)? (Note 1 Corinthians 3:1-3)

  7. Is it possible for the Holy Spirit to enable you to be more than you naturally are? If so, in what ways? (Note Romans 7:18 – Romans 8:10; Romans 12:17-21; Galatians 5:19-26; 1 Peter 2:9-23)

  8. Do you honestly believe that your Heavenly Father is willing to give you (a believer) the gift of the fullness of the Holy Spirit, more than an earthly father is willing to give good gifts to his children? (Note Matthew 7:11)

  9. List some of God's "Grace-Gifts" which He wishes to give to you specifically that would enable you to live a healthy life in a sick world. (Do you need "deliverance" from any of the following "besetting sins"? – Lust, greed, jealousy, worry, fear, pride, selfishness, resentment, inferiority complex, negativism, judgementalism)

  10. Put a check beside the following statements which describe your "personal experience" of the ministry of the Holy Spirit:

    1. ___ The Holy Spirit was nourished me when my life became 'dry' and 'dusty'.

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      Discussion Questions (Continued)

    2. ___ The Holy Spirit was provided specific counsel and guidance during my life's difficult decisions. (John 14:26)

    3. ___ The Holy Spirit has provided enlightenment and understanding to my mind during times of mental confusion and darkness. (John 14:26)

    4. ___ The Holy Spirit has helped me to pray during times when I did not know how or what to pray. (Romans 8:26-28)

    5. ___ The Holy Spirit has empowered me to witness when I felt weak and fearful and inadequate. (Acts 1:8)

    6. ___ Holy Spirit has reassured me of my standing and position with God (as an adopted son and redeemed soul) during my times of doubt. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

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