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"ON EAGLES’ WINGS MINISTRIES"
“The Earnest of Our Inheritance.” Part 1, July 2017.
This newsletter was posted back in October 2014; and although we keep moving forward in these studies, because of the importance of certain Divine truths contained herein, I feel impressed to publish this once more, while adding some new thoughts. The contents are of vital importance, and should be embraced by every child of God who have confessed Christ as Savior on a personal basis. Each nugget of truth should be observed carefully in the spirit of revelation opening a new and inspired path into the very mind of God concerning us.
Over the years, very little, if anything at all, has been said about the “earnest of our inheritance” in bible studies, workshops and seminars: and the reason might surprise you, even though it should not, as we shall see shortly. Among Evangelicals, the full extent of their Christian theology is to work hard in soul winning: be strong and faithful witnesses: feed the hungry, give shelter to the homeless, die, and go to heaven. Pentecostals take it much further than that! Among Pentecostals (into which I was raised and operated as one of their ministers) much more is required. Repentance is followed by water baptism, followed by receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. The concept of justification and sanctification are also integral parts of their doctrine.
The formulas in this process differ from one group to another; with tarrying around the altar and having hands laid upon you is the most popular among these groups. But the most accepted sign of receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost is speaking in tongues. From that point on, being faithful in attendance and financial support of the local Church becomes the norm. Countless numbers of people in this category, simply work in the local Assembly, until death ends their Christian life. Others work faithfully, looking forward for the imminent return of Christ that will result in the rapture of the church.
Other Pentecostal groups insist on moving further into acquiring the “gifts of the Spirit” and their meetings are filled with speaking in tongues, prophecies on a personal level, or to the Body collectively. These groups believe in possessing the “nine gifts of the Spirit” as found in 1st Corinthians 12. It is not unusual for individuals to be singled out in these meetings to receive direct words from the Lord through prophecies. Some are singled out for healing of undisclosed illnesses, and others are brought forward for the casting out of devils. This is called “the realm of gifts.” However, we cannot call this the realm of perfection. Over the years of walking in this realm, I have met many sweet and devoted people who live in the realm of gifts.
But, in spite of these gifts and their operation in every service, some of these loved ones seem to be mired in unstable lives. Seeking for the reasons could lead down many different paths: in the end, we do not seek to put blame on any one, for the simple fact that each person’s personal walk with Christ, and their path to development into the fulness of the measure of the stature of Christ, is characterized on a personal basis. Many factors come into the dynamics of how one makes progress in their march to perfection as a mark of personal achievement.
Here is one factor that serves as a large open door that lies open to every believer in Christ. I remember when Morris Cerullo from San Diego came to London to conduct his Deeper Life Crusade in 1968: his team worked with local ministers who joined in sponsoring the crusade. These local pastors and elders made themselves available in each service to secure the names and addresses of every one that accepted Christ. The new converts are encouraged to find membership and a “church-home” among these local pastors.
The process of Christian growth begins at the local level; based upon what each local pastor and their supporting elders believe and teach. This is where the deficiency comes into play. Every Christian Entity is based upon a certain form of doctrine, and although unknown to many, even among the broad spectrum of Christendom, WE PRODUCE AFTER OUR KIND! Genesis 1: 11. Thus, we conclude that salvation of the spirit, soul, and body in that sequence is unknown to many: and where it is introduced, it faces strong resistance, and even total rejection by some members of the clergy.
This holds true more so among those exercising the gifts of the Spirit than anywhere else: because they believe that they have received full and complete salvation. And in reality, these are the hardest folks to try and convince that we have not yet scratched the surface of what God has in store for us. (Total redemption of the WHOLE MAN.) Paul alluded to this truth by writing: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly (completely-totally) and I pray God your whole SPIRIT, and SOUL and BODY be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.”1st Thessalonians 5: 23.
Even in religious settings where all nine gifts of the Spirit are functioning in a full-fledged Pentecostal experience, the thought of obtaining more to adorn and enhance the born-again experience, spells trouble and the very thought should be resisted in the defense of pure doctrine. We prophesy, speak in tongues, cast out a devil or two, and we go home thinking that we have achieved maturity. If someone were to pose the question: “Hello brother! Do you want more from God?” the reply no doubt would be “more of what?” Can’t you see that I am saved, sanctified, filled with the Holy Ghost; and I am now waiting for my ride up through the clouds, which will happen very soon?” Sadly enough, that is the mindset of millions of so-called born-again believers. Now, to be completely honest, we cannot lay blame upon the millions of dedicated children of God, who never heard that there is more (much more) in Christ to acquire.
It never dawned upon them even in the most minute fashion that their present experience is only a down payment and a promise. How can they hear without a preacher? And if the preachers aren’t preaching and teaching the deeper things of the Spirit of Christ, the people have no way of learning what it is all about. Some of our leaders were like veterans of past wars who fought with vigor and resilience: but they could only share out of what they themselves had acquired, and suffered over the years of their personal Christian experience. Peter said: “Such as I have, give I thee.” Acts 3: 6.
Even a family doctor or a lawyer, and even a school teacher, can only share out of the well of knowledge that they possess. Let us pull the curtains back for a moment, and see what the impartation of the Holy Spirit in our first born-again experience is all about. Many believe and insist that the Holy Ghost is given to empower us for service; and they quote Acts 1: 8. “And ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me, etc.” Their assumptions are correct, but they only allude to the outer fringes of the entire package.
Let us hear from the Phillips Translation on the subject of this study. “And after you gave your confidence to him you were, so to speak, stamped with the promised Holy Spirit as a guarantee of purchase, until the day when God completes the redemption of what he paid for as his own; and that will again be to the praise of his glory.” The NEB translation said: “And you too, when you had heard the message of truth, the good news of your salvation, and had believed it, became incorporate in Christ and received the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; and that Spirit is the pledge that we shall enter upon our heritage, when God has redeemed what is his own, to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1: 13, 14.
As we just saw, the Holy Ghost was given in our initial Christian experience as “A DOWN PAYMENT on what God had purchased at Calvary; to be totally redeemed at a later date. Paul alluded to this truth by saying: “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed. Thus, we are gleaning from several witnesses in our effort to accentuate the truth which continues to evolve upon the wings of the Holy Spirit. There are a few commanding components in our scripture text that are of paramount importance to us; if we are to fully understand what God has done in us, and for us, and to what extent he has committed himself to us to complete the process.
Do you think that God would have tied himself in knots to us, in a contract that he cannot renege on, if there was a shadow of doubt that he would be able to fulfill his agreement to us? Think of this marvelous act on God’s part! He formulated a law and made it “binding” (unchangeable) then placed himself completely under its demands. Look at some important words that we will highlight to emphasize their importance to us. Paul indicated to the Ephesians that after they believed, they were sealed (stamped) with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession. Three words stand out in this account! They are earnest, promise, and until. The word promise works like a promissory note. Anything “promised” automatically points to the future. The same goes for the word “until”. Stay here, “until” I return also points to the future.
The word earnest carries an immense amount of weight, and is being used today in many large and important financial deals as we shall see later as we proceed. But looking at the correlation between promise, until, and lastly, earnest, they all mean the same thing. In that light and with that understanding, we must conclude without any argument, that since the Holy Spirit was given as a seal (a mark, a stamp) and as the earnest, until the redemption of the purchased possession, we, as a redeemed people should be on tiptoe, anxiously looking for full—complete redemption.
Many sincere believers in Christ simply do not understand that salvation comes in two separate phases: one is the “buying back” and the other is the “bringing back.”
Here is what the biblical narrative said! “Which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1: 14. Let us look at the word “earnest” for a moment; because it tells us a great story. In fact, not only a story: it actually unveils to us a grandiose principle that God allows himself to be governed by. It shows us that God entered into a binding contract with us, referred to as “the purchased possession” and this transaction guarantees that God will return to redeem—or fully redeem, the purchased possession: paid for in full at Calvary.
An inspired writer penned the words we have used over and over again in our worship services: “Jesus paid it all, All to him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.” This underscores the truth that our salvation was purchased at Calvary.
Unger’s Bible Dictionary has this to say: “The noun earnest occurs three times in the New Testament, and the meaning of the passages appears to be that the Holy Spirit is in the heart as an earnest money, given for a guarantee of a future possession, the pledge of complete salvation. Thank you Jesus this mighty plan in our salvation!
The Holy Spirit is both a foretaste and a pledge of future blessedness.” Paul was well familiar with this concept, for he wrote in 2nd Corinthians 1: 21,22: “Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed (stamped) us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” Again in chapter 5, verse 5 we read: “Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given us the earnest of the Spirit.” Both in secular and spiritual life, the earnest is deemed to be a pledge, a token payment, a down payment, or even a “seed” payment. (The first installment) All of these references or usage of different terms mean the same thing.
The earnest is not the full package, and it is not the final settlement in any legal transaction between two or more parties. Indeed, it is a pledge (a good faith token) and it becomes a binding agreement between the parties concerned, that final action is guaranteed to take place, at which time the full transaction will be completed. Dear children of God! You need to wrap your arms around this concept, that will give you hope and will help to focus your hearts upon the promise of full and complete redemption. To underscore the truth of us being purchased, Paul wrote: “Ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price: (This is the buying back of which we spoke) therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1st Corinthians 6: 19.
Our past teachings of the “Pentecostal Experience” has been so final and clear cut, that no room has been left for even the faintest possibility that there is more for us to acquire and live in real time. The idea that our first conversion experience complete with the baptism of the Holy Spirit; accompanied by the gifts of the Spirit was only a partial transaction, in which God obligated himself to return at a later date to complete the deal. But this concept was never heard world-wide, and where it has been taught was far and involved small groups. To tell an active Full Gospel—Pentecostal preacher or believer that all he or she has is only a partial redemption, would be an insult and the messenger would no doubt be deemed to be a false prophet, promoting a false doctrine.
But let us put the biblical narrative under the microscope, and with careful scrutiny watching every word in its proper context. Ephesians 1: 13 said that when we first believed, we were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. As we said before, a promise always points to the future; and in that context, the Holy Spirit was given only as a token, a down payment, a binding agreement between God and us. The next verse (14) plainly states that the Holy Spirit given to us when we first believed, is only the earnest of our inheritance. Ladies and gentlemen! Friends and members of His Body at large! The Word of God clearly states that the Holy Spirit given to us, first of all is the Holy Spirit of promise. Not that he is the Spirit that was promised by Jesus when he said the disciples should not leave Jerusalem until they had received the promise of the Holy Ghost.
The promise mentioned by Paul in Ephesians alludes to a bigger picture, and a more dynamic truth. It is the guarantee that God has started the redemption in us. But it goes beyond the simplicity of that thought. It points to a bigger a more grandiose purpose in Christ. It heralds the truth that God has entered into a binding contract with us, out of which he cannot excuse himself. He simply cannot renege upon what he has begun in us. HE MUST COMPLETE THE TRANSACTION!
We are not the ones “calling the shots” or pushing God into a corner with no way out. We did not concoct this elaborate scheme that locked God in a box! It was God, speaking through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, had Paul to reveal this magnificent process that was birthed in the very heart of God. Nothing contained in this deal seems to be unreasonable to God: because it was he who drew up the documents and outlined the terms, under which he placed himself on our behalf. Indeed! What a mighty God we serve! Angels bow before him: heaven and earth adore him: what a might God we serve.
This is a lovely song we used to sing in our worship services. In this poignant moment in the history of the church, and in our development in the image of Christ, along with a groaning creation, as if peeking over the crest of a mountain, we are on tiptoe and with great anticipation, we are already feeling the morning breeze of a brand new day—it is called “The Day of The Lord.” Let us not sleep as do others who are children of the night. I will continue with the topic of the “Buying Back” in the next chapter---stay tuned! Be blessed one and all!
Royce O. Kennedy
Please be reminded to make your gifts payable to Royce Kennedy and not to the ministry. Thank you!