See how I bare you on eagles’ wings and brought you unto myself.” Ex.19:4.

Royce Kennedy ◊ 909 Whistling Duck Drive ◊ Largo, MD 20774
Website: www.godfire.net/kennedy/



“Until the restitution of all things” October 2016, part 6


            “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” John 3:7. In a previous issue in this series, we touched a bit on the matter of being born again. Looking away from the biblical narrative for a moment, and turning our eyes upon the numerous forms of religious doctrines; we would quickly see a public market place for trading in religious thoughts.  In a particular section of this trading post, all shelves would be stacked with volumes upon volumes dedicated to the dissemination of the “Born Again Doctrine.”

             As we alluded to before, for decades upon decades of church teachings and ministry, we managed only to loosen the top layer of the full truth that is woven into the narrative of scripture concerning the dynamics of the new birth—i.e. To be born of the Spirit—and to be born from above. Jesus did not deviate from the potent truth of the subject to a man who had no clue of what the Lord was talking about. Jesus knew that Nicodemus did not understand his words.  

            In fact this ruler of the Jews asked as if in dismay: “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? John 3:4.  Although this man was somewhat bewildered, Jesus continued to emphasize the need to be born again. Let us apply this concept to the workings of laws that govern our daily lives. The process of babies inheriting the characteristics and family traits is not based upon the simple act of adoption. As we know it to be in our society!

             If a twenty year old man and wife adopt a baby boy or girl, and all three live in the same house; and do everything together for the next 80 years, even at that point in time, the adopted person did not manage to inherit a single iota of the adoptive parents’ DNA or family traits. These factors are contingent upon being born as we have known it since time began. Jesus had made it plain to Nicodemus that to see or to enter into the kingdom of God, one MUST BE BORN AGAIN: of water, and of the Spirit. Outside of this, one cannot SEE the kingdom of God neither can one ENTER into the kingdom of God. But this born again experience (process) means death to one world, and birth into a new world. At that point, we truly realize that that which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit IS SPIRIT. We can absorb more of the true meaning woven into the words of Christ.

            Paul explained it this way: “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” 1 Corinthians 15:50. As we link one part of the prevailing truth to another, we see the connections that expose the true process and the ultimate purpose in the concept of being born again. But what is of paramount importance for us at this juncture is for us to be deliberate and concise in our understanding of the “born again process”; that it is not an immediate act on the part of the Holy Ghost.

             Generally speaking, in what we call the “Pentecostal Persuasion” it is believed and continues to be taught that upon receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost when we first come to Jesus, we qualify to announce that we have been born again. In this current election cycle, we hear daily on television that millions of “born again Christians” are either voting for Donald Trump, Ben Carson, or Ted Cruz. Speaking generally, the claim that one is born again needs no clarification, because worldwide, it is generally accepted that one who claims to have gone through the process has a valid claim that needs no vetting or further confirmation. Perhaps as we look much closer in scripture, we will get a fuller view and a complete understanding of what being born again really means. We will also get a full (or fuller) understanding of why the whole creation is waiting on the unveiling of the sons of God. At the same time, we will understand why the sons of God themselves are waiting for the grand event—our FULL REDEMPTION—which is the completion of the born again process which began at Calvary—and I call that “The buying back” to be followed by the “Bringing Back.”

             Paul took time to exhort us on this wise: “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30. Two major points of interest hit us right away at first glance of this verse of scripture.

            First of all, these people to whom Paul’s letter was addressed were already believers and had already been sealed by the Holy Spirit of God. That is phase ONE! But phase TWO speaks of the day of redemption! Obviously, this does not mean to be redeemed from sin. They were already Christians walking with Christ by faith, having received the gift of the Holy Ghost. Based upon church teachings today, “the day of redemption” simply means the day when we all rise to heaven in the so-called Rapture. But here we have a specific case for a future “Redemption” promised to people who already claimed to have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. At this juncture we will repeat what we have said about “The “Buying Back,” which was done in full at Calvary: But we anticipate the “Bringing Back” which is an ongoing process that brings us closer and closer to the day of complete redemption of that which was purchased. (The purchased possession) Ephesians 1:14. Let us allow the apostle Paul to elaborate on how the process works.

             “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. We, generally, are made to believe that receiving the Holy Spirit is actually receiving the promise. But the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of promise, which is not the promise in itself. So what is the reality of the Holy Spirit in terms of our salvation? “Which is the earnest (the first installment, or down payment) of our inheritance until (the word UNTIL points to the future) the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:13, 14. We hardly need to explain this any further; but we will for good measure and total clarity.

             The Holy Spirit given to us when we first believed is only a token down payment, or “earnest money” by which we are sealed and sort of “set aside” until every part of us that was purchased at Calvary be redeemed, which will be unto the praise of his glory. Can you now understand why the whole creation is waiting with labor pains: waiting to see the glorious sight of the sons of God coming into their own? That earnest money or down payment is a binding contract between both the seller and the buyer: and in our case, God has obligated himself to complete our redemption, assuring us of the desired end by sealing us with the Holy Ghost.

             Peter describes the born again process as an ongoing act. Watch this carefully! Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” 1 Peter 1:23. Please notice the language used in this verse! It did not say “having been born again” which would mean a completed process. It clearly says being born again which indicates an ongoing process that will take us beyond this veil of flesh; and will fashion our mortal bodies like unto Christ’s glorious resurrected body. After we have settled within ourselves the truth of us being born again in an ongoing process, we will then begin to understand why the whole creation along with us is waiting for the adoption, the apolootrosis, our metamorphosis (the redemption of our body.) Romans 8:23.

This metamorphosis is the key that will open the door through which the sons of God will walk and that will be to the delight of the entire creation. Think of it! There will be no more restraint placed upon us by reason of the physical bodies that we now possess. We shall indeed, experience the loosing away of all restrictions or limitations that we now experience, and are held prisoners thereby. Paul offers this assurance: “We shall not all sleep, but we shall ALL BE CHANGED.” 1 Corinthians 15:51. It was to this end that Jesus emphasized the fact that we must be born again, or be born from above, or be born again of the Spirit. It is essential for us to be “born of the Spirit” for that which is born of the Spirit IS SPIRIT. John 3:6; and he that is joined unto the Lord is ONE SPIRIT!

 By combining all aspects of this single truth, we begin to see the enormity of what has been treated lightly by the church over past centuries. It is more than being raised up out of the waters of baptism, and with uplifted hands we claim the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We must by now understand that the initial experience is only a deposit—a down payment until our entire being is redeemed. Throughout church history, it seems as if the church has been pre-occupied with the saving of our souls firstly, by securing the forgiveness of our sins: and secondly, in our receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost that will prepare us for our translated trip into glory.

However, as we slow down and begin to read between the lines, and make an effort to put little bits of truth from here to there, a new picture begins to emerge that announces a new message of glad tidings. Alas! This new message is simply recognizing that the Holy Ghost was given to us in the first place, as a guarantee that our bodies shall be redeemed. Hallelujah! What I like in this transaction, is what we mentioned not long ago that when God gave us the Holy Spirit of promise, it was a down payment or the first installment in which he obligated himself—as if in a binding contract—that he will return and redeem the purchased possession. Thank you Jesus!!

Are you getting your arms around these truths? I challenge you in saying that if you actually embrace these truths and bind them to your heart, you will never be the same again as long as you shall live. Alluding to this big event, and addressing saints of God who were already firmly set in an active part of the body of Christ, Paul reaffirmed: “Now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed.” Romans 13:11. If we are going to judge angels also as Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, we have to be placed on the same level of angels: and Jesus did refer to a group of sons of God who cannot die anymore for they are equal to the angels. Luke 20:36.

However, David already assured us in writing: “For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels (or el-o-heem) meaning a little lower than God. Psalm 8:5. Because very few sermons, teachings, books, are about the “after life” it is easy to think that the bible offers very few clues as to what that state of being really is. And yet, much has been taught in scripture concerning the state of those we claim to be dead. To be on the right side of the truth as taught by our Lord Jesus Christ, we must adhere to the tenets of scripture. Let us observe how Jesus explained the state or status of those who lived and died. One day, certain Sadducees, which did not believe in the resurrection, asked Jesus within the context of a hypothetical story; about seven brothers, who were married to the same woman as set out by the Law of Moses. Since the first brother died, leaving no children, the law dictates that the next brother in line should marry the woman and bring up children to his deceased brother.

        It so happened that all seven brothers over the years ended up being married to the woman. Eventually, they all died, and so did the woman! The question became: “in the resurrection, whose wife shall she be of the seven? For they all had he?” It is obvious, according to Jesus, that in the resurrection all seven brothers and the woman will know each other. It is not clear that they acknowledged themselves as husbands to the woman. In fact, the answer Jesus gave underscores the fact that neither the seven brothers nor the woman recognized a married relationship as we know it to be. Jesus explained it this way. “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” Matthew 22:23-32. We are faced with a powerful concept here! 

            The way I like to put this in sermons, is that the day Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob die, God ceases to be their God—for he is the God of the living only. Abraham died about 1857 years before Christ, followed by Isaac and Jacob: but here comes Jesus all those years later reaffirming that no matter what we think or how we understand it; these patriarchs were still alive—indeed—He is the God of the living. What can we conclude from this broad statement? If we are to believe that he is the God of the living and all those who died thousands of years before are still alive, it is safe to say that in God there is NO DEATH at all.

             As we stated before, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom, and as Paul reaffirm—we shall all be changed.” What Jesus explained, puts us right on track and on the same level as the angels. Let us hear from another author of scripture as we contemplate the explanation that Christ gave in the case of the seven brothers and one wife among them all. “And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be counted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. 

            Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.” Luke 20:34-38. So I was right when I said a while ago, that in God there is no death? Thank you Jesus! Take another look at the scripture! For all live unto him! This is so good! My whole being is being overtaken by the divine life that oozes through my veins. Are you getting your arms around these truths? We shall continue our walk through the realms of angels as being exactly like them.

 In His Service—Royce

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